Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wildflowers blooming in shadow of mountain

Each flower is a soul opening out to nature. -- Gerald De Nerval

The trails in Mount Rainier National Park are already startling enough with old growth forests, tumbling waterfalls, glaciers and never-ending views of the snow-capped peak. But when the wildflowers bloom in the summer months, it truly does resemble "Paradise."

That's where my sister and I found ourselves Friday. After some meandering around the Longmire area, we drove to Paradise and agreed to a short 2.5 mile hike through the meadows so I could show her the simple beauty of lupine, heather and all the other flowers that have sprouted up behind the inn.

The walk was short, climbing only 400 feet on the Deadhorse Creek Trail, but the scenery was magnificent. It was a paved trail and gradually ascended
past several babbling brooks to offer views of the Tatoosh Range, the Nisqually Glacier and Mount Rainier.

We took a short rest at the height of the trail and stared in awe at the craggy peaks behind us and the glorious mountain in front. An attack of aggressive black flies hurried us on - especially after one flew directly up my left nostril as I posed for a picture!

The palette of colors for the wildflowers was as vivid as ever. It looked as though someone had painted splashes of purple, pink, yellow and white among the tall grasses. They were such a spritely, happy sight that I (mostly) didn't mind throwing in the towel early and heading home.

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