i took about 150 frames at the slopes of mt rainier and the eagle peak trail combined. i chose about 70 for my photo album. some of them are just b&w versions of various scenes and half of them are dear because people i care about are in them. i see this as a modest shutter rate in compariston with my other friends who take over 1200 snaps over several days of vacation (you know who you are. if you remember to read the blog). i would recommend them to take a film camera next time.
so what are the gifts of the southeastern slopes of mt rainier (eagle peak will be covered as soon as the lack of attending more important things allows)? since i am croatian i will start out with the negatives: the sun is merciless, she slopes are steep, snow is slushy and everywhere (including my boots), air gets rarefied, and the pack you are carrying on your back feels only heavier, you stop being sarcastic about other hikers/climbers using trekking poles and i-don't-need-good-gear-and-water-proof-shoes arrogance makes you a liability. i am glad i am carrying a camera. i get to be allowed to make photo-stops. everyone and their mother is snaking up the volcano.
the positives? you are trekking a living volcano with friends. from the slopes of one you are admiring another. and another. the day is blindingly sunny and the skies are high-altitude rich blue. the snow is white and i am thinking of my dad's arc welding mask.
you know when you apply sunscreen and say, well, i don't need it here, really! that's whrere the rainier sun dries up your skin and burns it red unlike the sun on a beach. nostrils, ear channels, eye bags, chafed calfs, under-ear skin where women apply eau de toilette. the sun rays visit you from everywhere and mark you with the seal of the rainier sun ranch. i saw people who most likely had summit coming down with their faces maroon red sweating sunscreen and necks covered in sahara-type neck cloths. it's only under 15 degrees C.
so what photos have i chosen? Most probably the wrong ones. let's leave art for a follow-up post, shell we?
a couple gets ready for a hike up to muir camp/summit(?) attempt. the big snowy thingy is mt. rainier. it's quite a tall mountain only if you attempt to climb it.
the ascend right off the parking lot started out in the snow. i felt strong and the view of these two dudes (there were many others) on skis going up hill made me feel pretty confident i'd get up to the camp muir altitude of 3 km (10,000 feet). the fact that they must have been very fit to be that crazy did not disturb me. people summit mt. everst too.
ok, there was a patch or two of naked soil initially where melt water was ready to soak my socks. katie looking strong and leading the pack with a-lady-leading-a-pack determination. we all pretty much wore t-shirts and shorts. the sun was radiating from everywhere and i hoped the 2-year old sun block would have some potency left in it.
looking down the south-east slope of mt rainier i exhale with the thought how lucky i am: one volcano lets me admire another, mt adams. the dinky looking one (because it is quite farther, right) is mt. hood. i have to dig out a closer pic of that one.
i rest to take the photo (catch a breath. i said to take the photo!) while my pack keeps traversing the show filed. they are not close to reaching the top of the slope, there is more of the same. a staircase covered in ancle-deep snow. wait until my next rainier post to double check whether your local staircase yields breath-taking vistas of the same caliber.
justin stepping into taking a photo of tina and katie. we are at camp muir.