Cold rain...

The weather has really taken a turn for the worse, but we're heading back to Mt. Rainier in spite of the weather.

East of Federation Forest, as we headed off to circumnavigate the national park, we looked both ways then hopped the guard rail and down into this forest of ancient trees. The patriarch has fallen, taking a fair number of big trees with it, to lie undisturbed between trail and river. You can climb up on the stump (which would hold my round dining room table and 6 chairs), but even more impressive is standing beside the tree.

Next stop, in even harder (and colder) rain, was the Box Canyon, which is in the park from Stevens Canyon entrance. We always stop here to walk the trail and look down at the Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz River. from this bridge, the surface of the river is about 130 feet below, and the canyon is less than 18 feet wide.

As you walk the loop, the huge rock to the right is scoured with deep glacial scratches. We crossed the bridge and decided to keep on walking the loop, even though that meant scrambling over a couple of downed trees. Thoroughly wet by this time, we ran back to the Pilot.

The last stop was at what is probably my favorite waterfall, Christine Falls. It's another place in the park where we always stop, and rarely do we get to see it without fifty people in the way of my photo. The weather worked to our advantage today. Christine Falls is a two-drop falls and is very pretty, but what makes it a beautiful view is the frame made by the stone bridge that crosses the river. I know the view so well, but I never get tired of it.

Wet, but happy with our day, we headed for Buckley and a burger and beer at The Firehouse. Relaxing in this packed bar and grill was the perfect way to end a long day.

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