We were really bored yesterday so since Connie worked Monday and was planning on working Wednesday we headed off for a day trip to the southwestern portions of Ranier National Park. After stopping on the way to pick up a sandwich from Subway for a later picnic…and after dealing with some “road closed except for local traffic” issues which caused us to reroute our trip a little we arrived at the Nisqually entrance to the park at it’s southwest corner.
Our first stop was at the Kautz Creek for a nice picnic. After that Connie walked down the boardwalk to Kautz Creek where we got our first view (in the park at least) of the mountain and also a shot of the creek running downhill.
After that we stopped by the Longmire museum which was OK…would have been better without crutches. Neil took a picture of the park headquarters while Connie brought the car up as we inadvertently parked a couple hundred yards away from the museum.
Our next stop was Christine Falls; the first shot is the upper portion which is on the north side of the road and the second shot shows the bridge the creek runs under as well as the lower portions of the falls. Connie wasn’t happy that Neil crutched down to the viewpoint for the lower falls but she got over it.
Next was a stop at the Nisqually Valley glacier which you can just barely see in the shot below. It’s the white spot on the middle right side of the photo; the glacier turns about 90 degrees to the right just out of the frame and then goes through the valley between the mountain and the shot location. Unfortunately the valley itself wasn’t visible without a bunch of walking which Neil wasn’t up to.
After that we stopped by the main visitor center…here’s a shot of the snow field to the right side of the summit itself; This field is just over the top of and out of sight behind the Nisqually glacier in the above shot; we were about 70 degrees further around the mountain for the snow field shot. The little dots you can see in the middle of the frame are mountain climbers on the way to the peak…at this point they’re about 4 or 5 miles from the visitor center and still have another 5 or 6 miles and 4000 feet or so to the peak. The most common route to the top is over the top of the snowfield then take a left turn and go behind the gray rock outcropping at the left side of the frame; then continue up to behind the summit and ascend the valley wall on the back side.
On the way down from the visitor center we spotted this little waterfall with some snow covering immediately adjacent to the road, Neil thought it was really cool.
Our final stop was at Reflection Lakes; where one can see the reflection of the mountain in the lake surface when the weather is calm. Unfortunately it was a bit windy so no reflections for us today. There is a bit of color reflection but none of the typical mirror like reflections one sees when the weather is calm.
After that we headed home; it was about an hour and a half drive. We stopped at Domino’s and got a pizza for dinner then headed home for the evening.
Tomorrow we’re headed off to the hospital for an X-ray on Neil’s foot and hopefully will get a good report on it. We’ll let you know tomorrow.