Today, we hiked and hiked and hiked. According to my pedometer, we walked 27,280 steps. That is, 12.01 miles. According to Susan’s pedometer, we walked 25,108 steps or 10.7 miles. We didn’t have that much difference in our walking today. One of our pedometers is obviously off. I hope it’s hers.
Our first hike was with a Park Ranger who loved, loved, loved rocks. This was a glacier hike. As we were hiking on top of eight feet of snow, she told us how the glaciers carved into these mountains to make U-shaped valleys. You can observe large cuts and smooth patches on many rocks here, evidence of glacial erosion. We stopped by one very large rock with a large hole in it. It had been tossed from a volcano. The hole was evidence of a gas bubble. She siad this was the largest specimen of this she’d ever seen. She cried when she first saw it. Like I said, she loves rocks.
The weather was terrible for a hike if you hoped to see more than a few yards ahead of you. It was cold, misty, foggy, stereo-typical PNW weather. It was July 5, but it didn’t feel like it. When we got to the glacier viewpoint, we had a great view of fog – a close-up view. So, we headed back down the trail. If nothing else, we got some really good exercise and we got to see a hole in a rock that brings tears to certain geologists.
After hiking several trails on the western side of Mt. Rainier, we drove to the eastern side to walk a few trails. As we were driving, the sky cleared and as we rounded a hairpin curve, there was Mt. Rainier. Massive! It really is breathtaking. We pulled off to join a group of fellow admirers with their cameras and binoculars out. I took several pictures.
We talked with another couple who were setting up their tripod and camera and then a scope. We watched hikers and skiers on the mountain – even with multiple magnification, they were dots in the brilliant white snowscape. Someone else in the group pointed out a mountain goat sitting in a snowfield on another ridge of the mountain. With my binoculars, it looked like a little hump of snow. With my new friend’s you could make out the outline of a goat, but with the scope you could see that it was a bearded goat, sitting contentedly unaware that he was the subject of a dozen eyes, a cloud of witnesses.
At the overlook, we were a community, mutually in awe of the mountain’s beauty and sharing with one another our stories of seeing (or not) the mountain and then pointing out features others may have missed. We all left at separate times to go on with our personal journeys, but our journeys were made the richer having shared it with a community of strangers.