Mount Rainier National Park in western Washington State preserves some of the best of nature’s scenic treasures. Described as an Arctic island in a temperate sea of coniferous forest, Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano in the Cascade Range and the largest single-peak glacial system in the contiguous United States. The Mount Rainier National Park 2020 calendar captures the park in all of its seasonal beauty through words and photographs by Ronald G. Warfield.
Meet Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park in western Washington State preserves some of the best of nature’s scenic treasures. Mount Rainier, described as an Arctic island in a temperate sea of coniferous forest, is the tallest volcano in the Cascade Range. The 14,411-foot Mountain, named for Rear Admiral Peter Rainier of the Royal British Navy, shoulders the largest single-peak glacial system in the contiguous United States. World-record snowfalls blanket the park each winter season, creating a monochromatic wonderland. When the snowbanks melt away in July and August, the most luxuriant wildflowers to be found anywhere ring The Mountain in a multicolored subalpine wreath. May these images of The Mountain encourage you to visit one of the most magnificent places in the Pacific Northwest. When you visit, please remember not to be a meadow stomper, so that future generations of mountain enthusiasts and flower lovers can enjoy the same uplifting scenes of natural beauty with which we are blessed.
Oh, What a Paradise!
Sometimes, the setting of a perfect gem outshines the gem itself. Mount Rainier National Park justly deserves its reputation as the site of one of Earth’s greatest floral displays. In the zone (roughly about 5000 to 7000 feet in elevation) between the dense forest below and the alpine rock and snowfields above lie subalpine meadows filled with a colorful riot of flowers. For a few weeks in July and August, this perfect floral elysium extends around The Mountain in a 93-mile floral wreath, adorned with open meadows known as parks. Easily accessible parks at Paradise and Sunrise are often crowded with flower lovers, but hikers find spectacular flower displays without the crowds at Van Trump, Spray, Klapatche, Berkeley or Grand parks and at Emerald Ridge, Indian Bar or Summerland. Vibrant magenta paintbrushes glow like beacons amid meadows filled by a fragrant sea of blue/purple subalpine lupine and white Sitka valerian. Wander the trails among these extravagant wildflower gardens for a whole summer if you can.
About the Photographer
Photographer/Author Ron Warfield has lived near mountains throughout his life. Degrees in forestry, geology, and wildland ecology from Colorado State University provide a natural basis for his photography. Throughout his career as a Park Ranger/ Naturalist with the National Park Service, he carried a camera. Since retiring from the position of Assistant Chief Park Naturalist at Mount Rainier, he has become a full-time outdoor photographer focusing on national parks across North America.