Getting High With Flowers (Part Two)

The invitation was unexpected.

My wife and I had just finished a shift at the Food Bank when another of the volunteers that we had befriended mentioned she and her husband were planning a trip to Mount Rainier, and would we be interested in coming along?

In part one, I mentioned how I’d discovered Mount Rainier’s alpine meadows by accident. Since that fateful trip I’d only made it back once, 20 plus years ago, and the view on that trip was marred by clouds and fog. I hadn’t been there with my wife at all, although I’d mentioned it as a place we needed to go to on several occasions.


Needless to say, the decision to go was a no-brainer.

The next strategy was to pick a date. We wanted peak wildflower season, plus clear weather. It’s tough to get a good picture with a mountain background when the whole thing, as massive as it is, is buried in an even more massive cloud. That was the issue on my last trip; when we got to a key lookout I’d bragged up to a traveling buddy the result could only be described as a white cat drinking milk from a white bowl in a snow storm. Paradise if you’re an albino playing hide and seek, but it wasn’t the Paradise we were hoping to see.

This time around we had more luck.


When you’re coordinating a trip with other folks, sometimes you need to make allowances. Our plan was to drive up, do a bit of sight-seeing, find somewhere to spend the night nearby, come back the next day and look around some more, and drive home in the afternoon. However, by the time we were able to confirm a date with our co-travelers finding a place to stay became problematical. Nearby became Tacoma, a 90-minute drive away.

Although we had a date, our co-travelers still had trouble getting off the blocks; between being chained to a desk and waiting for a cousin to take a test for school it was three before they could hit the road. We opted to leave earlier, giving us more daylight for a warm up hike in Paradise.

DSC_3978-2.JPG DSC_3978-BW.JPG
(I couldn’t decide if I liked color or b/w better…)

In part one we adjourned early, with the suggestion we shouldn’t pile the goodies on too heavy, they’d lose impact. Today we’re going to ignore that.  Consider this a Thanksgiving feast of flowers and mountain views  – you can diet later.

DSC_3970-2.JPG DSC_3997-2.JPG




DSC_4010-2.JPGEventually, we descended for dinner at the lodge. Our co-travelers arrived and we stormed back up the mountain, trying to take advantage of what light that remained.




Like the tides, the sun waits for no man – we had to head back down the mountain. By the time we got back to our car it was the full black of night, and our headlights gave only a hint of the twists and turns of the descent to Tacoma.

After an all too short snooze and breakfast, we drove back up the mountain, scoping out what was behind the scarier curves from the night before. As this day was a Saturday, we didn’t even attempt to return to Paradise; with the length and lateness of our commute we didn’t feel lucky enough to play parking lot roulette on a prime time weekend. So we spent our time cruising through the southern part of the park, stopping for viewpoints and a hike or two.





“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”
― Albert Einstein

Although it seemed as if we had only just arrived to sit with nature’s pretty girl, it was time to depart, and head on back through the valleys to home.DSC_4091-2.JPG


38 thoughts on “Getting High With Flowers (Part Two)

  1. Pingback: Getting High With Flowers (Part One) – Plying Through Life

    1. It’s no accident the place is a National Park. And it’s only a three hour drive – that sort of thing makes me wonder why I don’t go there more often. Of course I haven’t been to Crater Lake National Park here in Oregon for quite a few years either, and that’s equally spectacular.


      1. Wow, that’s a lot of conversions! I don’t do just generic conversions, I use a tool that lets me try different styles (contrast, filters, etc), not just a generic conversion. It takes a little time – and I have lots of pics…

        If you like B/W I could steer you to the tool.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have a couple of the free programmes on the computer that do a decent job. In fact, I do try not to tinker with photos too much, other than cropping and tweaking the colour balance a bit, which is why I’ve never invested in Photoshop or similar.
        But to go back to your original question, I would think that it was a case of going through each shot individually, and looking for those with a good tonal contrast and trying them as B&W.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow ! Beautiful picture of the waterfall, I like the long exposure shot. The flowers in Mount Rainier are so lovely, thank you for taking me there with you. It brought back nice memories. I was there 3 years ago, and I had an amazing time. Like you said, finding accommodation around is quite difficult.. were were staying in Seattle but the drive was still alright 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was one advantage to shooting at dusk, I could get a longer exposure on the waterfall. (I don’t have a ND filter.) But it was still tricky, I didn’t have a tripod and had to balance the camera on a rock and a couple fingers and try not to shake. I got the idea to convert it to black and white when I saw another blogger do it effectively.

      Have you blogged about Mt. Rainier on your site? I took a quick peek but didn’t see anything on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t have a ND filter either so it’s always tricky to take long exposure. When the sky is cloudy it’s a bit easier but then you lose a bit of contrast.

        You shot is amazing, without a tripod ? I’m even more impressed ! the black and white works well.

        No I haven’t. I went during summer 2013 but didn’t really have time to post about it 😦 We did a road trip for about 2 months in the West of the US, visiting lots of National Parks, including Mount Rainier.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You checked out the western US National Parks and still didn’t move here? That’s will power. 😉

        BTW, checked out your BF’s site – good stuff – followed him too.


  3. These are fantastic photos, Dave! I love the evening shots as you climbed back up briefly, but every one of them is gorgeous. My husband is out that direction on business right now, and I keep saying I am going to tag along, but now I’ve gone and taken a new job, so there goes that idea! I simply must get back to the PNW; I was last there in the 80s, I think, which is ridiculous. Thanks for the eye candy post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lex. I wasn’t sure I’d get any good shots on the evening hike as we were in shadow for the whole thing and the light was fading fast. Fortunately getting some warmth on those mountains in the distance gave a nice accent to the cooler foreground.

      If you can make it to Mongolia (as well as that ridiculous list of other places you’ve been) you can make it to the NW again. It’s just a matter of time…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. pinklightsabre

    One of those shots looking down-valley with the other peaks (can’t ID them) and they’re turning purple, that’s my favorite. Did you go up the Sunrise entrance by any chance? That’s one of my favorites because you can get really high (heh) by way of your car and it’s like you can touch the top of it. Too bad you had to stay in Tacoma though, that BLOWS. But better you made it there, right? I like the Einstein quote, that’s very apt and cute.
    We’re going to Timberline Lodge for a couple nights Monday and Tuesday! It’s our third visit there and we love the pool, the views of Hood, the old sauna there and hot tub. Good for the kids. We’ve stayed before down in Government Camp I think it’s called at one of their condos, too.
    I’ll do a quick night in Portland to see one of my favorite bands with one of my favorite buddies; hope next time we’ll have time to meet up for coffee or something. Bye, Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timberline Lodge, eh? I’ve never stayed there myself, although I’ve skied at Timberline a bunch of times. Is it hard to get reservations? Should be a good time for you and the kids. Seems like the Palmer lift might be open if you want to get an even higher view.


      1. pinklightsabre

        Well, I don’t know how hard it is to get reservations — we’ve only gone this same time of the year now, for three years, late August. It’s pretty expensive and you’re strapped to their restaurant, but it’s very quaint and warm and we like it. A family pastime you know. I’ll have a look for the Palmer Lift, thanks for the tip Dave! Bill

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a pity your friends missed part of the day, although I guess it couldn’t be helped. The scenery really is absolutely stunning. Incidentally, although the color photograph of the flowers is also beautiful, I prefer the black and white version.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s hard to go wrong with mountains and fields of blossoming wild flowers! 🙂 Gorgeous captures, Dave! Your flower captures remind me of my new-found obsession of spotting different flowers here. And there’s always some kind of buzzing life form next to it! Hard to get them on camera, though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: I Suppose I Should Write Something… – Plying Through Life

  8. Pingback: Paradise – Plying Through Life

  9. What a feast! It looks like your timing was fantastic. I will miss it this year – maybe I”ll get down there next year. Meanwhile, we;re thinking about Mt. Baker, but the smoke is bad, and likely will be, as long as the flowers are out. All the more reason to cherish those time when you do make it up the mountain at peak season.

    Liked by 1 person

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