We have been in Mount Rainier National Park for one day and we can already tell it is going to be tough to leave this place. There is so much to see here. The mountain is amazing, but equally amazing are the widlflowers, and the waterfalls, the old growth forest, the glaciers, and the wildlife. For a start we toured some of the waterfalls on a 5 mile hike on the Wonderland Trail that passes by three of the best. The Wonderland Trail is a 93 mile trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier, originally designed to allow the rangers to patrol the park before many of the roads were built.
The campground is on the west side of the Nisqually River, which flows out of the Nisqually Glacier. The active glaciers on the mountain are still picking up rocks and grinding them to flour so the rivers coming from the glaciers are heavily silted and vary in color from brown to gray depending on the area of the mountain in which they originate.
The paths of these rivers are continually changing as the rivers build up the bed with silt and change course cutting new channels and often dividing into 2 or 3 streams.
Salmonberrys look like an orange blackberry when ripe and, while sweet, they have a bitter aftertaste reminiscent of orange peels
After reaching Narada Falls we took the free park shuttle up to Paradise for some more views of the mountain and it’s wildflowers. Some of the National Parks have instituted free shuttle bus service to cut down on traffic problems and we like them a lot. The shuttles stop at the campground and allow us to leave the camper behind and ride easily to and from our day’s destination.
Mount Rainier has a lot to see so it looks like we will be spending some time here. The park has 3 campgrounds accessing the various environments, but we’ll stay here at Cougar Rock for another day or so.