Since I had a rare free day at home in Washington, my friend Bill and I decided to head to Mount Rainier National Park. What began as a five minute stroll out of Paradise became an eight hour marathon. We were in such a hurry to get out there, we forgot to bring snacks which was OK—there were subjects around every corner, so we didn’t even notice our hunger. We looped around Paradise Ridge where I frequently teach workshops in the summer meadows. Hiking to Panorama Point we found large groups of white-tailed ptarmigan as well as blue grouse.
With the very dry year and the September rains I think it is making for a very early fall season, at least three weeks earlier than usual. The night before our hike an ice storm moved through covering the sub-alpine firs and creating a stark contrast against the deep ochre of the fall foliage. On this day the mountain was obscured by clouds, which was perfectly fine because it allowed the other subjects shine forth.