Tag: "Mount Rainier"

A Year of Tahoma

A Year of Tahoma

One of my goals for 2022 is to explore Tahoma (Mount Rainier) every month of the year. Why? Because Tahoma is my favorite place to hike and yet I tend to go to the same places over and over. There’s nothing wrong with that: I hope I get to Burroughs Mountain to see the alpine flowers every year I can.

When I did some research, I found an excellent site by Shawn Hargreaves with the handy name of Hiking Tahoma. Shawn is a kindred spirit, he’s laid out a clever interactive map of all the maintained trails on Tahoma. I am now studying what to explore over the year. A few trails that I need to try out: Boundary Trail to Florence Peak, Camp Muir, Eagle Peak, Eastside PCT Loop, Klapatche Park, Northern Loop, South Puyallup Pipe Organ and Tamanos Mountain. I also want to get back to some lesser known trails such as Curtis Ridge. So many hikes, so little time. I feel a need to focus on Tahoma. Along with hiking, I aspire to observe and understand the natural history on each of my hikes.

Meanwhile, I did make it to Tahoma on 27 January, 2022. My friend Mike and I had a great day on the mountain. We snowshoed about 5 km (3 miles) with about 400 meters (1400 ft) of elevation gain. As you can see from the photo, we had nice weather. In fact, it was much nicer up here than in the cold, foggy Puget Trough thanks to a temperature inversion. It was a four volcano day: Tahoma, Adams, Hood, and Mount St Helens were all visible. If you look near the upper right corner, I think you can see the road where we started far below.

I was able to see a few plants and trees along the way. Here are my naturalist observations for 24 January 2022. My plant of the day was a patch of common juniper growing in a rocky, windswept areas at 2000 meter (6600 feet). This was our lunch spot.

We worked pretty hard heading up. Coming down , we were able to get in a couple of glissades ( in other words, slide on our butts in the snow done some steep slopes). After some hard work, I was happy to stop at the Copper Creek Restaurant and see WE HAVE PIES. Specifically, delicious blackberry pie. Hmm, there may have been ice cream as well.

Which is the best place for hiking?

Me at the snout of Carbon Glacier, Mount Rainier, 2012

For me, it’s Mount Rainier National park, a large volcano of the Cascade volcano chain in North America. Why?

  1. I have been hiking here for 43 years, since I was a teenager. I have seen changes occur over the years: ice caves have closed, floods have occurred, roads have closed.
  2. My family and friends have had many great days on this mountain. I’ve never had anyone regret spending time here.
  3. Next, I have spent a good chunk of my life learning the flora, fauna, geology and ecology of this mountain region. There’s always something new to learn here.
  4. It’s also fairly easy for me to access. In fact, the local Cascade and Olympic mountains are why I live near Seattle, Washington.
  5. Exploring here is never boring. I have spent much of my time exploring the alpine areas above 2000 meters. There are also dense forests. fast moving rivers, lakes and many wonderful places. While not a mountaineer, I climbed the heavily glaciated 4392 meter summit in 2011.
  6. Finally, it’s just a place I love.

For each of us the answer’s going to be different. How would you answer this question?

PS – This was an answer I wrote on Quora, slightly edited, to this question: