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 calendar captures the park in all of its seasonal beauty through words and photographs by Ronald G. Warfield.
Mount Rainier National Park 2021 monthly wall calendar features: Large blocks for notes | Beautiful reproduction | Quality heavy-weight paper | Deluxe 11- by 14-inch size
Introduction to 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.
Locations pictured in the 2021 edition include:
• Successive early winter storms have festooned The Mountain with nearly a third of the annual average 652 inches of snowfall. After sulking for weeks beneath a veil of clouds,
The Mountain breaks out of the swirling mist and greets the New Year with sparkling enthusiasm. On this wintry pause morning when The Mountain is “out,” the majestic mountain projects more than 11,600 feet above Longmire Meadow. The icy crown of Mount Rainier inspires more than 10,000 climbers to attempt to gain its 14,411-foot summit each year. Nearly half abandon their climbs when battered by weather.
• A wonderland of white dazzles winter enthusiasts approaching Paradise. On cloudless days, the craggy summits of the Tatoosh Range and other worthy peaks barely vie with The
Mountain for attention. But on days when Mount Rainier recedes into clouds, snowflocked subalpine fir and mountain hemlock frame aptly-named Pyramid Peak. The glacieretched sides reach a point about 6937 feet in elevation. The peak provides a 360-degree view that overlooks Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground. After a steep ascent from that flower-filled meadow next July, hikers may enjoy
views of three stratovolcanoes to the south: mounts Adams, Hood, and St. Helens. Nearby,
Success Cleaver rises another 7250 feet to 14,158-foot Point Success. At Pyramid Peak, the overwhelming presence of Mount Rainier instills a sense of insignificance.
• A warm evening glow on snow-flocked subalpine trees near Barn Flats at Paradise hints that flower lovers have only three more months to wait before the summer solstice initiates world famous floral displays.
• Lowland valleys of the Nisqually, Ohanapecosh, White, and Carbon Rivers radiating from The Mountain harbor superlative old-growth stands. Big old trees, large downed logs, standing snags, and a multi-layered canopy define the old-growth forest. Groves of Douglasfir, western red cedar, and western hemlock dominate the canopy in these greatest of temperate coniferous forests.
• Mount Rainier anchors the center of the mountain range named for falling water – The
Cascades. Geologist Bailey Willis, who was blazing a trail to the subalpine meadows on the northwest slopes of The Mountain, named this fan-shaped falls in 1883. The waters of aptly
named Spray Creek seem to drop from the sky as they plummet 350 feet over the face of an
old Rainier andesite lava flow. Modern hikers bound for Spray Park embark from Mowich
Lake on the Wonderland Trail, then course two miles through dense coniferous forest to the base of the falls.
• The relatively gentle 1.5-mile trail in Stevens Canyon offers two watery reflection surfaces. Bench Lake, which lies on the edge of a cliff only .8 mile from the trailhead, hides a broad reflection of Mount Rainier amid thickets of Sitka alder. Snow Lake, an additional .5-mile hike, rests in a cirque at the base of 6939- foot Unicorn Peak, the highest point in the Tatoosh Range. Shaded by towering ridges, the lake often remains snow-covered through July.
• Even on days when clouds shroud the upper reaches of Mount Rainier, devotees of wildflowers recognize the luxuriant flowerfilled meadows on Mazama Ridge as the scene that inspired naturalist John Muir to declare, “more pleasure is to be found at the foot of mountains than on their frozen tops.” Masses of purple subalpine lupine join magenta paintbrush and white Sitka valerian and bistort as successive waves of floral colors splash over a sea of wildflowers.
• Not all lupines grow at Paradise. Subalpine wildflowers, concentrated in a zone between 5000 to 7000 feet in elevation, encircle Mount Rainier like a wreath bejeweled with flower-filled meadows known as “parks.” Wildflower devotees tout scenery-packed Spray Park on The Mountain’s northwest flank as the supreme wildflower meadow. Day hikers on the eight-mile round-trip hike from Mowich Lake immerse themselves in a sea of flowers just like Paradise, but without crowds of other flower lovers.
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.
© 2020 Tide-mark Press