I’ve been back on the West Coast since mid July. I’ve been interning as a vegetation surveyor, and I’ve been learning a lot. It’s also been keeping me super busy, so I haven’t really had much time to put into this blog or photographing my baking/cooking.

Yesterday, I went on my first wildflower hike (finally) at Mt. Rainier and it was absolutely amazing.

We did the Skyline Loop which was 5.5 miles round-trip, 1700′ elevation gain and an average hiking time of 4 1/2 hours. Map and info of the trails here.
We saw plenty of wildlife on the trail (right next to the designated hiking trail), none of which cared that we were there, so I was able to get some nice shots. Though, apparently we missed out on a fox and buck by just a few minutes.

I just brought my simple point-and-shoot camera because I was already bringing a heavy load and it was supposed to rain (it ended up just being misty/drizzly) and I didn’t want to risk my DSLR getting wet. I’ll definitely be bringing it next time.

This hike was incredible. I was in absolute awe the entire time! The higher the elevation, the less the visibility. At Panorama Point, we were supposed to be able to have a view of the entire mountain range (even to Mt. Hood in Oregon), but we could hardly even see ten feet out in any direction. Even so, I found the fog to put a whole new way on looking at things. It made the many shades of green really pop out and it was absolutely exquisite. This was my first strenuous hike since the New Zealand trip, and I really need to be doing this more often. I’d love to be able to do these hikes every weekend.

The first .5 miles or, we saw a handful of hiking groups, but the higher we got, the less people we saw. At Panorama Point (6800′), we only saw two small groups (2-3 people per group). And it wasn’t until the last mile or so of the trail where it started getting crowded again. It was weird, and I ended up feeling a bit grumpy once we entered back onto a crowded trail close-by to the lodge/parking lot. It’s really a wonderful thing to have such tranquility (and quietness) at such high elevations. It also wasn’t the best weather for it, but i’m just really happy there weren’t any mosquitos and it didn’t downpour.