Monday, October 10, 2016

Mount Rainier

When traveling to Olympia, our habit it to take White Pass out of Yakima. A mandatory stop is an over-look to Mount Rainier. At 14,400 feet, this peak is the highest of the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest. It is an active volcano, a fact that must lurk in the recesses in the ninds of Washington residents. The mountain has been known by a variety of other names. Native Americans called in Tacoma, Tahoma, or Talol. These names may mean “Mother of Waters.” Lewis and Clark refer to it as Mount Regniere. Rainier commemorates Rear Admiral Peter Rainier, a friend of George Vancouver. With the renaming of Denali in Alaska in 2015, some favor returning Rainier to one of its aboriginal names.

We always stop at Clear Creek Falls, just east of the pass. This 228 foot drop seems perfect for Black Swifts. These birds often nest behind waterfalls. The only problem is I have never seen one there. Black Swifts breed late and leave early. Clear Creek may be at southern edge of their breeding range in Washington. Their nesting coincides with the emergence of flying ants. Perhaps we have never been at the falls at exactly the right time. Pretty waterfall, nevertheless.

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