My dear delights, I'm sure you've been waiting with breathless anticipation for the results of our adventures of last week. I took our own Lousy Canuck over the mountains and through the woods, because when you get a sun break in some very stormy October weather while a Canadian is visiting, you damned well show them all the volcanoes you can reach.

It's a bit fraught at this time of year, with some visitors centers closing unexpectedly and roads shut down. We didn't get to see as much of Rainier as I would have liked. But we got a bit in. The volcano was even somewhat visible!

Image shows Mount Rainier, partially hidden by patchy white clouds clinging just below the summit. The skies are bright blue. The White River valley is visible in the foreground, heavily forested.
Mount Rainier from near the turnoff for Sunrise. Credit: DANA HUNTER

I was quite glad, because I had a before-and-after story to tell about Mount St. Helens. Mount Rainier does a pretty good job of being the before.

We went and played in the White River. Recent high water had left utterly delightful patterns in the river bed.

Image shows the bed of the White River. There are many rounded andesite cobbles, partially covered with muddy ash. The volcanic muds are dark gray-brown, and are frozen in large ripples. The photo was taken from the level of the river bed, so the trees on the bank and the blue skies loom.
Patterns. Credit: DANA HUNTER

The morning's fog wasn't quite finished lifting - you can see the steam rising from the river bed in the distance.

I'd intended to go over to Longmire, because it's a lovely drive with hot springs at the end, but they were working on the tunnel on Highway 123. We tried changing plans and going up to Sunrise instead, but Sunrise was closed. We went back to the tunnel and were fortunate to arrive just as they were letting traffic through. And it turns out that being there late in the season, combined with half the road being closed and traffic only intermittently being allowed through, gave us an opportunity to do something really neat. We got to stop and inspect this gorgeous example of a roche moutonnée along the road. It would have been far too dangerous with normal traffic.

Image shows a dark brown rock outcrop. It has been smoothed and rounded by the passage of a glacier. The striations left by rocks in the sole of the glacier are clearly visible.
Roche moutonnée along Highway 123. Credit: DANA HUNTER

You'll definitely want to click for a larger view of this one. It's so tasty!

It had been raining all weekend, so there were plenty of little ephemeral cascades. There was an absolutely marvelous one flowing down our beautiful glacial feature.

Image shows the glacially-polished rock with a narrow waterfall cascading down it. It's in two tiers.
Ephemeral waterfall. Credit: DANA HUNTER

How wonderful is that?

We also got to see some late daisies, valiantly clinging to life.

Image shows two white daisies with large yellow centers. They are so old that the petals have become transluscent. They are covered in dewdrops.
Last daisies. Credit: DANA HUNTER

We could have gone to Ohanapecosh Hot Springs, but I decided to take us over Stevens Canyon Road and make it to Box Canyon before it got too dark. We got a rather pretty view of Mount Rainier from the large pullout not far from the Grove of the Patriarchs.

Image shows the summit of Mount Rainier peeking from behind white clouds, above the trees.
Peeking at the world. Credit: DANA HUNTER

Alas, that would be our last view of the mountain. The clouds were gathering. Happily, there's still plenty to see when it's cloudy up there. Such as the alien face in Box Canyon.

Image is looking down into the narrow slot of the Box Canyon. The walls are polished dark gray andesite. The water of the river is churning white. It's flowing around a rock that looks remarkably like the face of a gray alien.
Alien! Credit: DANA HUNTER

Jason was suitably impressed by the canyon. Pretty much everyone is suitably impressed. It's an impressive spot, and it was reallAlien!y nice to make it there before dusk for once!

We headed over the mountain, and passed the reflecting lakes. They weren't reflecting much. But we did get to stop and wander about and take photos of some of the pretties, like this waterfall on Sunbeam Creek.

Image shows a short, wide waterfall streaming over several rock layers. Another set of falls is visible further upstream. There is a rocky, sunlit peak in the far distance.
Sunbeam Creek waterfall. Credit: DANA HUNTER

Paradise was pretty much covered in clouds, and there weren't any spectacular views. We got some pretty late-evening sunshine lighting up the clouds. Then we made it to Narada Falls just before we lost the light.

Image shows Narada Falls, a tall, wide cascade. It's towards the left. The andesite columns it flows over are visible to the right.
Narada Falls. Credit: Dana Hunter

And then we'd pretty much lost the light, so that was all of Rainier I got to show him. Still. I think we managed pretty well.

But Mount St. Helens the next day will blow your mind. Stay tuned!