A fall (at least fall color) hike in Mt. Rainier NP

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Gary from Seattle Veteran Member • Posts: 5,893
A fall (at least fall color) hike in Mt. Rainier NP

This was actually a bit funny getting started as we had intended to hike at Chinook Pass on the east side of the Park. But on arrival it was obvious that the smoke from the large fire nearby was very near. And the wind was blowing strongly from the east. So, a reassessment.

The 103,000 acre Schneider Springs fire was still very active on this date; the smoke was clearly moving closer.

So we decided to continue down Cayuse Pass and up towards Paradise. But with the east winds smoke was also blowing through the gap of Stevens Canyon; so we went on. Finally, on the SW corner of MRNP we seemed to be in the clear - and we were. But rather than a reasonable start it was now nearly noon, so....

Indian Henry's is a nice but not short hike in MRNP and there are two approaches. We took the shortest one via the Kautz Creek trail. There were few views on this trail for the first couple of hours, but finally it opened up as we approached the meadows of Indian Henry's. There were some steep sections of trail.

Since I expected to just do a hike near Chinook I chose the older EM-1; which being light and compact, I often carry on day hikes. It is still a very good camera and only lacks in landscape in controlling highlights.

Fall colors are well under away in the Cascades, but not surprisingly blueberries are a bit sparse (although good) after the extremely hot early summer in the Pac NW.

I love the elegant spires of Subalpine Firs as one approaches the subalpine meadows at about 4500-6000', depending.

From our high point just short of Indian Henry's on account of time I spotted a Western Hoary Marmot perched beautifully on a nice rock.

From our 3:30 pm lunch perch. We were actually sitting on a sharp rock outcrop with a deep fault-cleft immediately above us.

Success Cleaver on Mt. Rainier displays the mountain as a stratovolcano - comprised of multiple flows of lava and pumice. The glaciers here are retreating rapidly; the nearest still showing as extending well down (2000 vft) into then gully below it in 1971. Winter snowfall is still normal and this winter's was above normal, but the summers are much sunnier and warmer than historically. However, today, four days later, the mountain from about the white part of the glacier to the summit would be covered by 2-4' of new snow that fell in the first significant rainstorm since June since 9/17.

A wider view. I carried the 12-40 and Panny 35-100 F2.8. On some hikes I carry just the 12-40.

Nice fall colors along the slow bends of the trail.

I set up this shot on this same beautiful section of trail. We got back to the car about 15 minutes before sunset. The days are getting shorter fast, now.

 Gary from Seattle's gear list:Gary from Seattle's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus OM-D E-M1X Olympus Zuiko Digital 1.4x Teleconverter EC-14 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 +5 more
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