Rainier wildflowers reach peak

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.comAugust 12, 2012 

During a recent stop at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise, I talked with Curt Jacquot, the west district area interpretive ranger.

He said that the park’s famed wildflowers have reached their peak and should remain so for the next couple of weeks.

During a visit a week ago, I found a bank of fragrant flowers right across from the Paradise Inn entrance, including yellow buttercups and lavendar-colored subalpine daisies. A trip down Paradise Valley Road was rewarded with large swatches of white avalanche lillies and a roadside lined with broadleaf lupine. Along Stevens Canyon Road to Reflection Lakes I saw paintbrush in red, orange and magenta.

There also were some wild strawberries at Longmire.

In the northeast corner of the park, Sunrise is in full bloom and Tipsoo Lake likely is close to prime, said park staffer Steve Redmon. Westside meadows, such as Soo-Too-Lick’s Hunting Grounds and Spray Park are in early bloom and should reach their prime this week.

If you’ve been waiting for the snow to finally melt and the flowers to come out, the wait is over.

HERITAGE PROGRAM

The Mount St. Helens Visitor Center in Seaquest State Park will host a Pacific Northwest cultural heritage program Saturday.

The program will feature stories and songs from Northwest timber communities. Hank Nelson, a retired logger from Wasilla, Alaska, sings original songs and logger poetry, telling stories of his days as one of the Northwest’s last old-time tramp loggers. Nelson has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., and at the Cooper Union University in New York City. Joining Nelson for the evening are Bob and Parker Antone of North Bend, playing instrumental music and telling stories from their Snoqualmie Valley pioneer family roots.

The program begins at 7 p.m. The center is on state Route 504 in Castle Rock.

Admission is $5 per adult, $2.50 per child and $15 per family. Those who hold tickets from the visitor center from earlier in the day may re-enter with those tickets at no additional cost. The Discover Pass is not required for vehicle access to the event.

SHELLFEST IN DES MOINES

ShellFest 2012 will come to Saltwater State Park between Tacoma and Seattle.

The event runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 18 at the park, 25205 Eighth Place S., Des Moines. The event features activities for the whole family, including low-tide beach walks led by local experts, touch tanks, ice tables, children’s activities, craft booths, face painting, paddle making, videos and more. Lunch is free and provided by Taylor Shellfish, with a suggested donation of $5 for individuals and $10 for families that will go to the Washington State Parks Foundation. Admission is free. The Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the event.

LOTS OF TRAFFIC

If it is warm, they will come.

High temperatures in the Puget Sound lowlands Aug. 4-5 sent plenty of people to Mount Rainier National Park seeking relief. It made for the busiest weekend of the summer, said Debbie Hannevig, fee collection operations manager.

On Aug. 4, 2,470 vehicles came through the Nisqually entrance. The next day, there were 2,193 vehicles that entered through the park’s main entrance.

That volume led to backups at the entrance and cars being halted on White River Road because the Sunrise parking lot was full.

Park officials urge visitors in the Longmire-Paradise corridor to use the free shuttle system on such weekends to ease traffic congestion.

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com 253-597-8640 blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure Jeffrey P. Mayor, jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com

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