I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Mt. Rainier but this was definitely a first.
Last weekend we drove to the remote northwest corner of the National Park to bicycle the old Carbon River Road. It had been washed out back in 2006 due to major flooding and was permanently closed in 2008. Now it was the perfect place for a bike ride!
So after a quick stop by the Ranger Station
we entered the park and started our ride down the old road.
It starts out paved but quickly changes to compact dirt and gravel. It also starts out level but continues on with a slight incline.
Bob went ahead while I was distracted and stopped to take pictures.
We passed giant old-growth trees – Douglas Fir and fragrant Cedar – and lots of snags
and blowdowns, where sometimes the wood was mysteriously stacked.
And if this looks like rain forest, that’s because it is. The Carbon River Valley is inland temperate rain forest – thick, lush, fragrant, and beautiful – receiving between 70 and 90 inches of rain a year.
After three and a half miles we stopped for lunch next to the river, which comes from the Carbon Glacier. It was wild and deserted – just the kind of landscape where I would expect to see grizzly bears if I was in Montana or Alaska. Thankfully I was not. And none of the resident black bear came out to greet us either.
From here the road got bumpier and steeper so it was the perfect place for us to turn around.
Going back was fun with a lot less peddling and mostly downhill. And though I didn’t fly down the road like the young ones did on their mountain bikes, I was happy to be out there with them.
While Bob went to get the truck I peeked into the nearby rain forest trail and managed to get a few more pictures. If only I could capture the fragrance too and take it home with me!
Light rain began to fall as we headed back home and once again we were thankful that we live in Washington State and so close to beautiful Mt. Rainier National Park.
Celebrating this week’s 103rd anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service for Sunday Stills.