Hike #29: Reflection Lakes & Mount Rainier Wildflowers
July 11, 2015
Mileage: 5.5 roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2000 ft.
Clare and Anna have been participating in this Citizen Science project, called MeadoWatch, for three years now. The trail begins beside Reflection Lakes at Mt. Rainier, and meanders up toward Paradise. There are nine marked points along the trail, and at each plot you stop to examine the various kinds of wildflowers and their phenophase, or stage of life, and record the information on a data sheet.
This was my third time doing this hike, and I still love it. I’ve been trying not to repeat too many hikes to meet my goal, but this is a favorite. We’ll be hiking it a second time on August 8, and I can’t wait.
On our July hike, Clare and I encountered a foggy, misty morning, with the Mountain hiding from view. After many hot days in Seattle, it was nice to hike in cool weather. And the light and mist made for some excellent photo opportunities.
Most striking was how this hike differed from the one we did at almost the same time last year. Last year our July hike featured several large snow piles to cross, and involved us losing the trail for a minute in one of the open snowfields. Some flowers had started to bloom, but everything was still very much at its beginning, especially at higher elevations. This year the trail was completely dry, even dusty in places, and many flowers already at their peak or slightly past it.
I’m eager to see what the next hike on this trail will bring, how it’s changed since July. And to see what the weather will do. I enjoy this hike in the sun, but doing it in the cool mist was also spectacular in its way.