Thursday, November 1, 2001

Hello from Morton, Washington!

Start time: 0845

Start odometer: 22751

Weather: Cloudy day with intermittent rain and snow at the higher elevations, temperature 50 degrees F. 


Today was a bit moist with periods of rain and snow.  I was able to see the blue sky through breaks on the clouds on several occasions, but the sun was very diffused.  The drive, however, was still nice.  I was able to see many waterfalls along the rock walls beside the road, and some of the Autumn yellow leaves were glowing in the dim areas surrounded by trees.  At the end of the day, I found the town of Morton, and this motel.  Lumber and farming are supported by the town, as well as tourism due to its close proximity to Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens.


The day began with a quick trip to SeaTac Airport (as expected,) then southeast towards Mount Rainier National Park.  I approached the park by traveling clockwise from the north.  Some of the park is closed for the season, but I was still able to see some spectacular scenery.  East of the park is Chinook Pass where I ran into some snow.  The roads were very negotiable, as the crews kept them clear.  I headed south along the east side, stopping for a hike, to Packwood.  I stopped at the Forest Service office there and picked up information on Mount St. Helens and found a trail I will take tomorrow.


Picking up Forest Service Road 52 west, I headed for the west entrance into Mount Rainer.  The road in the park was closed halfway through, but I was able to drive to the site called Paradise.  Again wonderful scenery, with mule deer, a museum, snow, waterfalls, and fall colors was observed along the drive.  I will provide better descriptions under the pictures below.


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Small waterfall along Route 410.

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Mount Rainier National Park north entrance.

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Heading into the higher altitudes and snow.

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At a pull off just west of Chinook Pass.

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Road clearing crews on a lunch break.

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My car in the parking area.

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A view to the south from the parking area.

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Chinook Pass sign over the road.

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I took an interpretive trail in the southeast portion of the park,

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Another view of the trail.

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Entrance into the National Forest.

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Looking down the road from the location of the previous picture.

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Near the west entrance, an Inn is available for overnight visits.

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The museum near the Inn.

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I drove up the road towards Paradise.  Stopping at a waterfall, this bird, and several of his friends, were begging a bit.  Probably fed by humans in the past.

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A wide angle view of Christine Falls.

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Close up of the lower falls below the bridge.

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A view of the upper section of the falls.

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A close up shot of the upper falls.

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A building in Paradise.

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Also in Paradise, pretty snow on the trees.

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Another picture from the Paradise area.

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A tripod shot of me along the plowed snow near the visitor center in Paradise.

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The Paradise Visitor Center.

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Looking at the side of the hill supporting the road made me curious, and slightly nervous.

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Passing by the museum on the return, I stopped by this gas station built in the 1920s.  It is now used for transportation exhibits.

Tonight I had a nice pork chop dinner at the Wheel Cafe, then walked around town.  The local high school football team had their last game of the regular season tonight, so I saw quite a few people heading in the direction of their stadium.  It was another interesting small town, with a western flair.

Tomorrow I head south and east to take a hike to an interesting cave, then off to Mount St. Helens.  Two drives are available to get into the reserve, and I plan on driving both of them.  Afterwards, I will head northwest one last time to see Neah Bay.  Then my journey turns to the south...Thanks for viewing the page!


Routes traveled today: US 5 - Wa 18 - Wa 167 - Wa 410 - Wa 123 - Us 12 - Forest Service Road 52 - Mount Rainier Park roads - Wa 706 - Wa 7

Lodging: Roy's Motel -

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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