Several sets of friends and my family met to wish Mark a happy birthday (and hike).
We started out with short hikes and for the most part we stayed in the Paradise Valley area. This year heavy snows and a cold June have resulted in all the wildflowers blooming more or less at the same time.
We stayed at Cougar Rock Campsite -- it was nice, but the wild flowers were prettier up at the Paradise Valley area.
Our third hike involved lots of up and downs. I think this was my favorite part of the trail -- I forget the name, something like Paradise Ridge Vista trail. Anyway, this knoll looked like some kind of a temple and I secretly want it for our back yard.
The trail was a loop. As we were heading back to the Jackson Visitor's Center, we managed to spot two marmots. Mark was pleased because he wanted to see marmots. I'd never seen them before, and I managed to get some photos of them (one in a "Noble Marmot" pose on a log).
My brother-in-law, Randy and I went for a short hike. We were about three minutes away from Carter Falls, but we didn't realize it and turned back. Along the way to the falls I happened to be in the right place at the right time to take this photo; I like how the reds in the hollow trunk came out.
One of the cool things we noticed on the hike was a series of holes in the bank along the trail which were blowing out cold air (it was refreshing as it was 80-something at the time). We figured that snow and evaporative cooling must somehow be transforming the burrows and holes in the ground into a giant cooling tower complex.
I went back the next day (Sunday) to hike from Cougar Rock Campground to Narada Falls. One of the guide books complained about the drainage pipe that ran along the side of the trail.
What the book didn't say was that the pipe was made out of wood slats bound together by wire. I'd never seen wooden conduit before and I thought it was interesting.
It was much cooler Sunday morning, and I met only about five people during my two hour hike (if you don't count the two tour busses filled with seniors that showed up at Narada falls about the time I did).
Mt. Rainier was pretty. There were no flies and the mosquitos weren't too bad. The mountain did not bring to volcanic life. And although we had a brief thunderstorm Saturday night, it was over before much rain fell.
That said, after three nights of camping, there's something to be said for having clean hair and one's own bed.