High Peaks

We hiked up near Mount Rainer, an active volcano in the Cascades.

View of snow-capped Mount Rainer

View of snow-capped Mount Rainer

Mount Rainer

Mount Rainer

Driving to Mount Rainer, we saw lots of patches of woods that had been clear-cut. Seeing the empty patches of dried gray branches and stumps that I fought the spread of in college working with the Sierra Club and MASSPIRG was powerful.

Clear Cutting

Clear Cutting

The difference with Washington, though, is that, at first, the logging industry did not manage the land very well and eventually handed the reigns over to the state. They have to replant these areas. While I would prefer they leave these areas alone because of all the animals that leave their homes, and I definitely want them to leave the 400 year old trees alone, some of the pastures and meadows that result from the new planting are pretty. There were fields of purple flowers that wouldn’t have been able to squeeze in between the thick, dark forest that the tall trees made.

Purple flowers in the new growth

Purple flowers in the new growth

It was a bright, sunny, cloudless day, a perfect lapis-blue sky, but we were so high in the mountain that snow still covered patches of the ground. Small wild flowers covered the sides of the mountain; larger flowers will come in a couple of weeks.

Small, lily-like flowers

Small, lily-like flowers

prickly white flowers

prickly white flowers

pink feather flowers

pink feather flowers

purple bell flowers

purple bell flowers

The snow melted into ice-cold waterfalls and lakes all over the mountain.

Icy Cold Lake

Icy Cold Lake

Heath and Matt in front of the view of Mount Rainer

Heath and Matt in front of the view of Mount Rainer

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4 thoughts on “High Peaks

  1. nah nah, we should just burn these forests for fun. do what’s right for american corporations. they need trees and water to make goods… or maybe the chinese factories do… I don’t know.

    GO PATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mitch you suck. You never call me back. Anyways, Callis, love these pictures. I may use one of them as my work computer’s desktop background picture. Seriously, I am soooo jealous that I’m sitting here and looking at your pictures of hiking…. makes me sad.

  2. I am not a fan of clear-cutting by any means, but at least in the Pacific Northwest the rich soil and lush rainfall mitigate the effects by allowing the forests to recover relatively fast. The greatest tragedy is that this sort of thing is allowed to go on in places like Montana and Wyoming which only just barely receive enough rainfall for forests, and have sandy soil poor in nutrients. Also, in many semi-arid areas of the west, open woodlands of juniper and pinon are bulldozed to provide grasslands for cattle — and thereby become sage desert once the cattle overgraze them. So bad as the situation in the NW is, take it as a relatively benign example of a desecration that is far worse in drier areas of the West than it ever could be in western Washington.

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