The MT.’S

A great find, Taidnapam Park located in Glenoma, WA and owned by the Tacoma Power is nestled in tall pines on Riffe Lake.  The location of the park puts you in between Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Mt. Rainier National Park with about an hour drive to either place.

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Riffe Lake

The first evening it rained and the next day it was partly sunny.  Mt. Rainier National Park was our first choice to try and see the mountain on a fairly sunny day.  Entering the park at the Nisqually Entrance, we were soon pleasantly surprised to get a few photo opportunities of this majestic mountain.

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First view of Mt. Rainier

The Longmire Museum is a nice stop with the history of the mountain along with the National Park Inn.  The Trail of Shadows directly across the street is an easy loop trail that circles mineral springs, historic remnants, a beaver pond and the awe of walking through the giant Douglas-fir and western red cedar trees.

This park is probably one of our Top 5 in beauty.  We also appreciated how well maintained everything was, from the roads, signage, accessibility, ease of entering the park, to the awesome trails.  The Paradise Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center is our favorite visitor center. The design and information were beyond any other.  The views from the windows have got to be breathtaking when the mountain is not covered by clouds!  Right out the back door are many hiking opportunities to gorgeous waterfalls and fabulous vistas, and the beautiful Paradise Inn.

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Christine Falls
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Narada Falls
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Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center
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Paradise Inn
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Myrtle Falls
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View on hike behind visitor center

The next day we ventured a little further westward into the park along Stevens Canyon Road with a stop at Reflection Lake.  Unfortunately, no reflection, but we could see the majestic mountains reflection in our minds and it would be spectacular!  Box canyon is 180 feet drop from the bridge overlook to the raging river below. The path of a glacier that has receded and revealed polished slabs of rock and narrow steep box canyon of the Cowlitz River.

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View on Stephen Canyon Rd.
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Long Cascading Waterfalls on Stephens Canyon Rd.
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Bottom of Waterfalls along Stephens Canyon
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Reflection Lake
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Box Canyon
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Box Canyon
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Mt. Rainier

The two days we were in the park there were clouds covering different parts of the mountain, but it is spectacular!  These John Muir’s words on the steps to the hiking trails at the visitor center sums it up!

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Our neighbors in the campsite next to us gave us some insight on traveling to Mt. St. Helens.  They had taken the Windy Ridge Road to access Mt. St. Helens and described this narrow road as having many areas of no guardrails, steep drop-offs causing the passenger to cover their eyes, but breathtaking views nonetheless!  Route 504 was our non-adventurous choice, first stopping at the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake.  The Visitor Center was very informative in the events leading up to the catastrophic volcanic eruption that occurred on May 18, 1980.  Two months of volcanic activity and an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face collapsed and in a few moments rock and ice slammed into Spirit Lake, crossed a ridge 1,300 feet high and roared 14 miles down the Toutle River.  Changing the surrounding landscape and mountain forever.

Fifty-seven people lost their lives, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, 185 miles of highway, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed.  The volcano ejected a plume of rock and ash 10 miles into the air.  The eruption spewed 540 million tons of ash into the air, darkening the sky and causing street lights to come on some 300 miles away.  The Johnston Ridge Observatory is located near the site of volcanologist David A. Johnston’s camp, who lost his life on the morning of the major eruption.  Inside there are exhibits explaining the events of those who lost their lives as well as survivor stories and eyewitness accounts.

The earth has a way of healing itself, we were memorized by the growth of the Nobel Fir trees planted in 1983 and this little beauty on a lovely wildflower.

Both of us remember the coverage of this event on television and newspaper.  It is humbling to see it in person.

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