Mt Rainier: Day hikes and a flower cornucopia

Trail of the Shadows, Wonderland Trail (Paradise to Longmire), Eagle Peak

Haven

Longmire meadow

Saturday evening a stroll around the Trail of the Shadows revealed a young beaver making its evening rounds of the home pond. The pond is in the middle of Longmire Meadows. James Longmire being the fellow who first commercialized the area in 1883 as a mineral springs resort. Now, sill bearing his name, Longmire is 2nd only to Paradise as the most visited place in Mt. Rainier National Park.

Sunday Kyle and I hiked from Paradise, nestled at 5,400 ft on the south flank of Mt. Rainier, back down to his home along side the Nisqually River in Longmire, in the southwest corner of the park, along the Wonderland Trail.

Nisqually and Mt Rainier

Nisqually River and Mt Rainier

Monday we hiked to the peak of Eagle Mountain from Longmire, a roughly 3,000 ft. elevation gain. The wildflowers have followed the snow melt and once again we were blown away by what we found just below the saddle of Eagle Peak. Lists are boring, but my goodness, I never even knew all these flowers existed together, much less in less than a 1 acre area! For those not so fond of Latin I’ll use the common names:

Columbine, Beargrass, Subalpine Daisy, Bracted Lousewort, Magenta, Paintbrush, Mountian Bog Gentian, Coiled-beak Lousewort, Cascade Aster, American Bistort, Sitka Valarian, Tiger Lily, Glacier Lily, Avalanche Lily, Mountain Heather, Jacob’s Ladder, Phlox, Harebell, Lupine, Cliff Penstemon, Cascade Huckleberry, Rosy Spirea. By no means is that list conclusive, but just a snap shot of the most common wonders, as is what you’ll find below…

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily

Spirea

Spirea


Kyle

Kyle descending wildflower slope

After a good long time on top of Eagle Peak we cruised back down the wildflower slope and through the switchbacks in virgin Western Hemlock forest. I’m definitely not going to make it home Monday at this rate, so I’ll enjoy one more night here. Dinner is already in the oven.

Haven and Rainier

Mt Rainier from Eagle Peak

It only made me slightly twitchy to be looking up at this mountain and know I wouldn’t climb it on this trip. I’ve been at sea level too long and need to bag more Sierra peaks before I get on something like this again. But it will be here, and I will be back, crampons underfoot and ice axe in hand.

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