One of my favorite places in the entire world is Mount Rainier National Park (MORA). I was fortunate to receive an internship through the Geological Society of America’s GeoCorps program and worked on a water quality project monitoring backcountry alpine lakes. This was a time in my life where every meal I ate would be accompanied by a map, constantly drooling-over and executing backcountry trips (for work and play) into the park’s untouched corners. I never knew so much love could occur in one place (the people I met there were some of the greatest I’ve seen so far) or for one place. I have endless writing in which I could share about Mount Rainier #the following is one of my favorites.
July 6, 2015
Cowlitz Park, Mount Rainier National Park
I am situated on a little slide of ground pumice that is big enough for me to avoid stomping on the alpine meadow. I look to my right and see alpine wildflowers blooming, coloring the hillsides in lush strokes of magenta, indigo, and cream. Conifers are sparse here but dot the horizon, making the majesty of the Pacific Northwest incredibly tangible. The Tatoosh [Mountains] lay to the South, ragged and old, starved of their usual snowpack. Mount Adams is crystal clear and I know that is my first feat of mountaineering (give me more). Behind me is Mount Rainier – sleepily tucked into the shadows – its glaciers and snowfields ready to shed their hydrologic life in tomorrow’s sun. Columnar andesite lays from its flanks, like regal appendages of this mighty stratovolcano that is the focus of my summer and my appetite. The sky is ablaze with alpine glow.