Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Girly Visit to Mt. Rainier

My favorite cousin, Claudia and her 11-year-old daughter Sophia arrived in Seattle from the Bay Area on Thursday morning and we've had a whirlwind of activity ever since. From the airport, we made a bee-line to the Aqua Verde Cafe and Paddle Club at UW to show off our fair city from water level, knowing that Claudia and Sophia would love the adventure as much as we had when it was a piece of Kat and Aleks' graduation scavenger hunt from Elisabeth last month -- and especially since they'd just watched Sleepless in Seattle in the plane, and the kayak ride to Seattle Arboretum takes one right by those beautiful houseboats (though, unfortunately, not by THAT houseboat, which lies over the hill on Lake Union)!

But I digress.

Yesterday morning, under blue skies, Elisabeth, Kat, Sophia, Claudia and I piled into the car again, this time heading south toward Mt. Rainier. Last year and the year before, with Laura we'd missed the famous wildflowers, which appear for only a few fleeting weeks in mid-to-late summer, and I was determined to not only share "our" beautiful mountain with Claudia and Sophia, but to also finally see it for myself in the splendor of the wildflowers, as it appears in all those publicity photos, as if those flowers are always there:

It takes about two hours to get to the Mountain from our house and with five females, ranging in age from 11 to 51, you can bet that the car ride was filled with more than just a little bit of estrogen. The conversation ranged from memories of our first periods (some distant and some very recent), to crushes, marriages and relationships in between, to make-up tips and fashion ideas. Claudia, Elisabeth, and I, being the more out-going, did most of the chatting, but Kat and Sophia were fully engaged, listening more than talking, but taking it all in.

Once we entered the park, our estrogen pow-wow continued between frequent stops to marvel at the Mountain's majesty and beauty. The wildflowers weren't out in their full splendor because there was still quite a bit of snow from last year's record winter, and the skies weren't stark blue as they were last year, but a wonderful time was still had by all.

Behold, our day:

The Mountain tried to find its way out of the clouds all day, but to no avail. This is as close as it came.

Some nice stranger offered to take our picture. Left to right, that's me, Elisabeth, Sophia, Kat, and Claudia.Narada Falls is always graced with a rainbow. Oh wait -- not always... only when the sun shines. So... rarely?!

The amount of water is just astounding! This spring practically splashes right onto the road.

The "rock glacier" goes on for miles! (Kat French braided my hair. Damn, I wish I could do that myself; I just love it up and off my face. And yes, it does make me feel like the Bavarian madchen that I am! Ha ha...)

Warm sun and cold snow. Elisabeth loved it!

The mountain tried to escape the clouds all day.

For a fleeting second, the summit emerged. Blink, and you'd miss it.

The wildflowers -- or at least a few of them -- were out. These are avalanche lilies.

And some Scarlet Gilia...

And a few Merten's Bluebell.

There's a huge variety of wildflowers that emerge at Paradise (the highest point on the mountain accessible by car), but guess we'll have to wait until next year, hoping to see them then.

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Summer said...

Beautiful scenery!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you were able to take the time off to go play..and then to share with us!

Anonymous said...

Rainbow, water, sun, beautiful flowers, snow and smiles, all on the one day WOW! you have it all. Lovely photos.

jen said...

Carol, i want to know exactly what you did in order to make that deal in which you never age. i was looking at those pictures and i couldn't find you because of all the teenagers.

your girls better be pretty pleased with the good genes they inherited.

Goofball said...

those Belgians who have lived 3 months in Seattle also made a trip to Mt Rainier and it seems like one of the highlights of their trip! They were very impressed by "your" mountain!! They had great pictures.

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