Monday, July 25, 2011

Drive Around and Onto Mt. Rainier Brings Scenes of Beauty Unsurpassed

As long as we’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest, my wife and I had never driven up the road to Mt. Rainier and Mt. Rainier National Park. Yesterday we not only did that, but we also continued on around the back side of the mountain (eastern hemisphere), making a big “loop” as we headed home, and were rewarded with nothing but serendipitous beauty. Above is halo-clouded Mt. Rainier from still snow-laden Reflection Lake. You can click on any photo for a larger, down-loadable image.

We approached the great mountain and National Park from the western entrance, and in so doing, you pass through the little town of Elbe, six miles north of Mineral Lake and about 17 miles west of the Park entrance. It is here where the Mt. Rainier Railroad originates and makes summer weekend trips along rickety tracks to the Lake and back. We passed on the railroad ride and continued up the winding mountain road by car.

But while in Elbe, we stopped to take a photo of a beautiful, little white church for my buddy Ed Wall (who collects same), and to our surprise, not only was it a 105-year-old Evangelical Lutheran Church, but it was also a German Lutheran Church (Ed’s heritage is German). The photo above is the church, with Kay Lynne pleasingly gracing the entrance. (Eddie – if you need a shot sans KL for your collection, let me know, as I have one).

We used our Senior “Golden Pass” to gain free entrance into Mt. Rainier National Park and made our way another 15 miles or so to historic Paradise Inn and its famous restaurant, where we planned to enjoy the scrumptious Sunday Brunch Buffet. They did not disappoint. Below is Kay Lynne by the entrance to the Inn.

Sous chef Newnell had prepared to perfection just about every imaginable breakfast and lunch delicacy. There was more food than the eye (or the stomach) could absorb – salads, pastas, fresh fruits, pastries, blueberry cheese blintzes to die for, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, eggs benedict, waffles, salmon/lox, and an array of roasted meats. And that doesn’t even mention the devilish desserts of seemingly infinite variety.

We finally decided we’d had enough to last the day and, following taking the above shot of the Tatoosh Mountain Range across the canyon to the south of the Inn, continued our drive eastward along Stevens Ridge, through Box Canyon, arriving finally at the Grove of the Patriarchs and the east Park entrance (exit in our case), Stevens Canyon. The shot below looks north eastward from Reflection Lake toward our exit point.

From there, we drove north along Hwy 123 and merged with WA 410 just a few miles west of Chinook Pass. The drive home from that point was absolutely gorgeous with outside temps varying from 73-degrees at the elevations to 86 in the windless canyons. We followed the White River Canyon down into Greenwater and Enumclaw which approaches the back yard to our area.

All in all, an incredible Day Trip with wonderful memories.


Ed Wall said...

Great blog today, RK. I have forwarded this to your pastor so he will understand why you were not there in person for his well-thought-out homily! You went, instead, to Nature Nazarene Church!

Great photo of the church and KLK and it will join my collection.

Darlene and I took that trip several years ago. Lucky guys, you & KLK!

ralph higgins said...

Great photos, Rog.

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