Locations in Mount Rainier featured in the 2022 calendar include:
• Mount Rainier, at 14,411 feet in elevation, towers over the Nisqually Glacier, one of six glaciers that descend from The Mountain’s summit. Winter conditions prevail year-round on the upper mountain. Of the 25 major glaciers on Mount Rainier, the Nisqually is the sixth largest.
• On the road from Longmire to Paradise, a stone-facade bridge arches over a forty-foot precipice forming Christine Falls. Just upstream from its confluence with the Nisqually River, Van Trump Creek exits a hanging valley that was carved less deeply than the primary glacial valley of the Nisqually.
• The sky-piercing flourish of Pinnacle Peak catches the last rays of a winter sunset. When clouds obscure views of Mount Rainier, outdoor enthusiasts orient on the Tatoosh peaks that form an eye-stopping background for the subalpine meadows of Paradise.
• When we enter Mount Rainier National Park along the Carbon River Valley we arrive in a different world of giant trees, lush understory vegetation, dense shade and filtered light, mossy logs, and swamps of devils club, skunk cabbage, and vine maple.
• In Spring when higher-elevation trails remain buried under snow, or when The Mountain is not visible, the East Side Trail offers big old trees, quiet solitude, and waterfalls along Chinook Creek and the Ohanapecosh River.
• Not all of the best of Mount Rainier’s wildflowers are found at Paradise. Every Mount Rainier wildflower enthusiast claims a favorite subalpine meadow. Scenery-packed Spray Park on The Mountain’s northwest flank tops the list for hikers who wish to avoid crowds of flower lovers.
• As the record-setting snowbanks of winter melt away, successive waves of floral colors splash across Mazama Ridge and other subalpine meadows that encircle The Mountain. Only weeks after yellow glacier lilies fade, white avalanche lilies and western anemone carpet the meadows.
• The Skyline Trail treats hikers to expansive views of the Tatoosh Range peaks and the glorious white dome of Mount Rainier. The 5.3-mile loop wanders from 5400 feet to nearly 7200 feet in elevation and visits all of the subalpine floral habitats for which Paradise is justly famous.
• Color watchers hiking the Nisqually Vista Trail at Paradise receive two seasonal climaxes. As the first snows of the approaching winter season blanch the upper slopes of Mount Rainier in late September, the subalpine meadows blaze once more.
• The exuberant floral bloom in this subalpine meadowland on the southern flank of Mount Rainier inspired Martha Longmire to exclaim, “It looks just like Paradise!” Paradise it has remained since 1885. By 1896, twice weekly runs of a four-horse stage brought visitors to Paradise each summer.
• This is a favorite location for dawn-chasing photographers bent on capturing the ephemeral blazing sunrise glow on Columbia Crest and Emmons Glacier. Jagged Governors Ridge stands silhouetted against the base of The Mountain. The ridge is the eroded remains of explosive volcanoes that predate Mount Rainier by millions of years.
• Snow and rime festoon subalpine fir and mountain hemlock groves, to the delight of winter enthusiasts in the monochrome wonderland of white on the Nisqually Vista Trail.
About the Author
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.