Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"It's so big, you can't see it from here."

Quote from Dr.  Sal Butera

This pretty much sums up Mount Rainier. By comparison, most other peaks look like the Flint Hills of Kansas. Or comparing Shaquille O'Neil vs. me, although we both sport above average smiles. 

How big is Rainier? Well, it's more than a 14,411' mountain. It's girth contains 25 glaciers. It's the birth canal of seven rivers. There's too many creeks calving off of its summit for me to count. It takes the Wonderland Trail 93 miles to go around the circumference.  This massif should have it own zip code. It's HUGE.

Geologists consider the volcano to be "episodically active." The last witnessed eruption was 1894. There's still stuff going on below and on the ice. Sit in one place long enough and you can see and hear rockslides and ice falls. Even now, trails sometimes go missing due to landslides. I've been on a few of them.

I had the pleasure of spending a few days and hikes in our Nation's fifth National Park. I came away with a feeling beyond awe. (And Aww). On a clear day, your eyes are naturally drawn upward. The views change by the minute and your angle of sight. I never had to stifle a yawn. It's so much better than watching so-called Reality TV.

But, there's trouble in Paradise. Last year, 1.85 million guests visited Mount Rainier. More than a few might have been guests from Hell. At the ridiculously popular Paradise section of the Park, trails are paved and roped in. It reminded me of going through an airport security line. Wildflower meadows beyond the passive constraints were trampled down. No blooms, just bare brown dirt. Very sad. 
The Park is 117 years old. In 1899, America's population was 63 million. Now there's 323 million who call the U.S. home. I can't and don't want to imagine what Paradise will look like in another 117 years.  

In Genesis 1:28 God ordered Adam and Eve "to be fruitful and multiply." Maybe Homo Sapiens are getting too good at duplicating themselves. I'm glad I was born in 1954 instead of 2004.

Enough somber thoughts. Come and see this amazing place while there are still untrammeled meadows and places of solitude. You will be glad you did. 

I'll be back for a more in-depth look at Mount Rainier ASAP. There's so much more to see here.

From Packwood, Washington 

PS. The last photo shows what happens when the Fox Fear Network creates the signs for the National Park Service.

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