Tahoma dominates the skyline as seen from a ridge above Spray Park in the northwest corner of Mt. Rainier National Park. The boggy area in the lower right was filled with splintered tree trunks, likely the results of a good-sized avalanche this past winter.
As temperatures and cloud covers takes a decidedly fall-like turn here in central Washington, I’ve been looking back on photos from a whirlwind summer. While we were on the road for a good portion of the summer, we were able to make time for a few brief excursions to our “backyard” mountains: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and the Goat Rocks. Here are some of my favorite images from those trips:
Traversing the Nisqually Glacier on the south side of Mt. Rainier in early summer. I had the opportunity to take a basic mountaineering course this past spring, which culminated in a beautiful day on the ice in mid-June. A great way to kick-off the summer!
A view of Mt. Rainier from upper Spray Park, framed by Echo Rock (left) and Observation Rock (right).
A lone glacial meltwater pool on the slopes of Mt. Rainier.
Sunset light on the summit of Mt. Rainier, as seen from the Spray Park Trail.
Ives Peak in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, flanked by clouds rolling in from the west and a sky made pale-orange by abundant wildfire smoke.
We spent a mostly cloudy and damp evening camped on Bear Creek Mountain in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Every 15 minutes or so, there would be a momentary gap in the low clouds passing over the peak, allowing fleeting glimpses toward the west. Here, the outline of Mt. Rainier is barely visible through the clouds at left.
Mt. Adams at sunset as seen from the burn scar of the 2015 Cougar Creek Fire. A small cap cloud hovers over the summit.
The Big Dipper over Mt. Adams.
September 18, 2021 | Categories: glaciers, Peaks, photography, Washington | Tags: glacier, mountain, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, photography, sunset, Washington | 3 Comments
Bright Jupiter rises above the summit of Mt. Adams, with the summer Milky Way reflected in the calm surface of Takhlakh Lake, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington.
Mt. Adams is a striking feature of the western skyline from here in the Yakima Valley of Central Washington. Here’s what it looked like from our neighborhood at sunrise a few months back:
A setting full moon and sunrise light on Mt. Adams as seen from the Yakima Valley.
The towering volcanic cone looks close enough to touch, but in reality, reaching the base of Washington’s second highest peak requires a nearly three hour drive down a labyrinth of Forest Service roads. We’ve been wanting to explore the Mt. Adams area since we returned to Washington last year. With winter’s grip beginning to ease in the higher elevations of the Cascades, earlier this week we finally got the chance.
Mostly clear skies, calm wind, and a dark moon made for some great photo opportunities. While it may be debatable, I think some of these were worth their weight in mosquito bites. Several small ponds dot the lower flanks of Mt. Adams and snowdrifts still lingered in the shadier patches of forest, making the entire landscape somewhat damp. Consequently, the mosquitoes were ferocious! Sadly, our mosquito “repellent” only seemed to attract more. I was quickly reminded that a vastly underrated aspect of living in the southwest is the lack of bugs!
Mt. Adams reflected in Takhlakh Lake, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington. (Not pictured: immense swarms of mosquitoes.)
White avalanche lily (Erythronium montanum), one of the first wildflowers to emerge from the swampy ground as the snow melts away.
Mt. Adams reflected in Takhlakh Lake at sunset.
The forests just to the west of Mt. Adams happen to be located nearly in the center of the four large active stratovolcanoes of the south Cascades: Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier to the north, Mt. St. Helens to the west, and Mt. Hood just across the Columbia River to the south in Oregon. A variety of relatively short but steep hikes in the area ascend lesser peaks, resulting in fantastic views of all four volcanoes, plus the dense forests of the Cascades:
Panorama from Council Bluffs. Three Cascade Range stratovolcanoes (and the remains of a fourth) are visible (click to enlarge): Mt. Rainier (far left), the remains of the Goat Rocks volcano (center left), Mt. Adams (right), and Mt. Hood (far right). The upper portion of Mt. St. Helens’ eviscerated cone was also visible through the trees to the west.
The dense forests on the west flanks of Mt. Adams. Council Lake at bottom.
The real fun came after nightfall. Dark skies are much harder to find in Washington than in Utah, and this was my first good look at the Milky Way since last summer. The calm weather allowed me to capture the Milky Way’s reflection in Takhlakh Lake. Jupiter was kind enough to rise directly above the summit of Mt. Adams. And I got lucky and captured the brightest meteor of the evening in one exposure. This was certainly a case of being in the right place at the right time! (One might argue that the “right time” would have been a few months from now, when all the mosquitoes are dead, but then the Milky Way would not have been positioned so perfectly.)
A meteor takes aim at Jupiter as Mt. Adams and the Milky Way are reflected in Takhlakh Lake.
The Milky Way begins to emerge from evening twilight.
June 27, 2020 | Categories: Astrophotography, Peaks, photography, Volcanoes, Washington | Tags: Cascades, meteor, milky way, Mt. Adams, photography, reflection, volcanoes, Washington | 6 Comments