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National Park

Mount Rainier is just 50 miles north of Mount St. Helens.  It's roughly 50 miles from Seattle, Washington and 90 miles from Portland, Oregon.
When we headed east out of Randle, it was a a very short drive on US 12 to Ohanapecosh, b'gosh, the southeast entrance to Rainier National Park.  After our visit with foggy Mount St.  Helens, the weather here at Rainier National Park was simply beautiful!  We were very fortunate.
The truth is that the weather around these huge mountains of the Cascade Range is very volatile.  One day can be bright and clear and the next can be socked in.  Around these mountains it is much more common to have cloudy skies that bright sunshine.  We were very fortunate today.  Annual precipitation here at Rainier averages from 87 to 126 inches, depending where you are in the park.  An average of 57 feet of snow covers the south flank of Mount Rainier each year.  Rain and snow are what keep these forests thick and green.  Sure!  Go ahead and pronounce it "rainy-er" . . . because that's what it is!

This National Park features a beautiful mountain, but it's much more than that.  It's wildflower meadows in open areas.  It's an extra dense old growth forest, designated "wilderness" that is blessed by enough moisture to compost much of the naturally dying material that blights other limited access areas.
Mount Rainier features 26 glaciers.  This view is from the White River Campground where we enjoyed lunch.  Unfortunately, we were not permitted to camp here because the campground was being being closed for the season today, September 30.  What a disappointment on such a beautiful day! ... Oh well.  The sign says: "No Pets."  My translation: "These 'grapes' are sour anyway." Appy could not be walked on the trails.  But what beautiful "grapes." (sigh)

We ended up staying in a secluded NFS campground called "Silver Springs" on the White River where it exits the park at the northeast corner.  The 1000-gallon-per-minute spring was just across the trail from our campsite in a stand of very tall western hemlocks.
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