Washington – Day 8 – Mt. Rainier

Rainier Valley

Day 7 was partially taken up with our descent from Lake of the Angels, partially taken up with our loitering at the trail head pondering what to do next and partially taken up driving toward Mt. Rainier.  We stopped off at a hotel along the way as it was suspected that accommodations nearer Mt. Rainier would get more sparse and more expensive.  The next day that suspicion was validated – everything near the park was sold out or very fancy.  This also made sense once we got into the park and saw just how busy it was by midday.

Mt. Rainier
Mt. Rainier from the end of our hike.

We arrived at the White River entrance to Mt. Rainier around 8:30 and drove in.  The initial plan was to do two hikes, so starting at the northern end of the park, we went to the White River Campground to hike toward Rainier on the Glacier Basin Trail.  The trail is reportedly 7 miles round trip, but there wasn’t really an end destination, though looking it up on the map afterward, we went about 3.5 miles in, so I think we made it to the point we were supposed to.  Much of the hike was along the White River which was fed by glacier melt from the Emmons Glacier which is the largest in the lower 48 states.  We did see a team of five hiking along the glacier further up – and according to some person I overheard, hiking Rainier is relatively simple though being a multi-day event.
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Washington – Day 6 & 7 – Olympic National Park

Mt. Ellinor
View from Mt. Ellinor
Mountain Goat
Mr. Mountain Goat nestled into his rocky alcove hiding from the people.
Mountain Goat
Rock Licker

We actually got up early and left Aberdeen right around 7AM headed for the Mt. Ellinor trail head which we reached around 9:00.  I think there were two trail heads for Mt. Elinore and we were heading for the upper, which involved many miles of bumpy dirt road to access.  I have some philosophical thing against hiking past a trail head further in or up since it seems like an intentional deoptimization of the hike.

The upper trail was a 3.2 mile round trip with 2444′ of elevation gain.  We weren’t really carefully tracking elevation or trail distance, but we had made notes and looking back when writing I found it interesting to calculate the elevation ratios.  This one was a 3.46 to 1 ratio, which was notably steeper than the other climbs.

We knew there was a chance of seeing mountain goats, so we were asking people on the way up, (actually, Janet was asking people, I don’t talk to random strangers in the woods.) and the information was that there was one juvenile just over the peak.

When we got to top he was still there, nestled into a recess on the back side of the mountain, so we got to bag our first mountain goat sighting.  But then we hung around enough and he decided that we weren’t dangerous enough to prevent coming to the summit, so he did just that.  We stayed out of his way and let him stroll about licking the rocks for minerals just like the signs said they would.

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Washington – Day 5 – Olympic National Forest


Because we stopped short of Olympic National Forest, we had to finish the drive up to Quinault first thing in the morning.  The first stop was a the USFS / NPS Recreation Information building where we got a map of the immediate area (not so much Olympic National Park as a whole) and some recommendations.  I think we told the ranger there we were looking for about 10 miles worth of hikes for the day and she recommended we try climbing Colonel Bob which is a mountain in the National Forrest.

We decided to take that part of her advice, but we mostly ignored the part where she told us to do that first and then do the shorter hikes if we were still up for it.  This was mainly because we were already near many of the shorter hikes while the Colonel Bob hike involved driving 20+ minutes or so back the way we had come in and would be leaving at the end of the day.

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This was one of the shots that comprised the previous moon HDR pic.  The images in that one weren’t really that well aligned, so everything was quite soft.  This one didn’t have quite the detail on the edges, but overall it’s a much better picture.

Picture taken with Sony a6000, SEL 18-200mm lens @ 42mm, 1/25 sec, f/8, ISO 100

Lake of the Angels

I looked at yesterday’s picture a second time after it was posted and was rather disappointed.  I think the posted version looks muddy to me – which makes some sense because a RAW file has no added sharpening, contrast or saturation adjustments.  Here’s a comparison of what was posted vs. what I think it should look like.

Color may still be off because I lost my calibrations when the computer crashed a few weeks ago and haven’t taken the time to redo them yet.  For additional reference, the third picture is the jpeg straight from the Camera, which had a slightly different idea of the color balance than I did.

Lake of the Angels Lake of the Angels Lake of the Angels



Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier

A closer shot of the top of Mt. Rainier – taken from within Mt. Rainier National Park.  This was the closest we got to the mountain.  There were some hikes that went into the foothills but they were mostly longer than we had time for.

Picture taken with Sony a6000, SEL 18-200mm lens @ 35mm, 1/200 sec, f/9, ISO 100

Rock Licking Mountain Goat

Rock Licking Mountain Goat

One more of the mountain goat that we came upon at the top of Mt. Ellinor.  They lick the rocks scavenging salt.  There are plentiful warnings that they will also lick / nibble / attack people to get at their sweaty and thus salty clothes.

Picture taken with Sony a6000, SEL 18-200mm lens @ 149mm, 1/2000 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100