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Author Topic: Washington State National Parks  (Read 1976 times)

tiger82

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Washington State National Parks
« on: August 27, 2012, 01:42:44 PM »
I have limited mobility and can handle moderate terrain and no strenuous or steep trails.  I can probably handle a mile or two each way with several breaks.  If anyone has any suggestions for good photo ops in Mt Rainier and Olympic National Parks as well as places to stay, I'd appreciate the help.  If there is a better forum, please let me know.  Is Mt St Helens a doable day trip from Mt Rainier or should I spend at least a day or so to do it justice?  I'm planning on mid-July, early August 2013.

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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Washington State National Parks
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 01:49:05 PM »
Mount Rainier is a all day trip, but there are not a whole lot of areas for those of us with limited walking ability, its just a long drive even if you only stop a few times.
The Olympic mountains are best done is two or more days, there is so much more than just the park proper.  I'd allow a day to see Mt St Helens, you certainly would not want to try and do it and Mt Rainier in the same day.
 

tiger82

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Re: Washington State National Parks
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 02:13:43 PM »
Thanks for the reply. I can walk, just not on grueling 24 mile hikes or alpine (any kind for that matter) mountaineering.  I can do decent hikes provided I can rest my body for about an hour for every hour of activity.  I suffer from dystonia and I don't mind sharing that because chances are you've never heard of it.  I can handle physical activity provided I can carefully plan it, that's why we are allowing for 10 days to do the whole trip.  So where can I find the best photo ops in Mt Ranier NP, Mt. St Helens, and Olympic NP.  Of course the usual Seattle sites like the Space Needle will be part of the trek.  Starbucks?

For Mt Rainier, should we be closer to the NE entrance or the southern part of the park?
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Re: Washington State National Parks
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 02:57:46 PM »
I like to drive entirely thru the Park at Mt Rainier.  From the Northeast via highway 410 and out at the Nisqually entrance to the Southwest.  You will want to photograph wildflowers at Paradise, if they are in bloom.  It might be a little late.

tiger82

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Re: Washington State National Parks
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 03:01:59 PM »
I'll be going July 2013.
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Halfrack

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Re: Washington State National Parks
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 05:09:27 PM »
Hurricane Ridge is a spot where you'll have lots of fun (Olympics, just south of Port Angeles).  The drive up is amazing with pull outs, plus once up top at the visitor center you have a few short hikes possible (0.1-2 miles) to get different vantage points. 

Dungeness Spit is amazing, but lots of gravel.  The hike down is worth it though - and the sea otters will follow those hiking along the beach.

Also, the Elwha restoration project should be fun - they took out a dam that had created Lake Mills, so there is lots to see that's been under water.  http://www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/elwha-ecosystem-restoration.htm

Crystal Mountain has a gondola and a great vantage point of Rainier.  http://skicrystal.com

Diablo Lake is an amazing shade of green - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diablo_Lake and can be a great drive in itself.

I worked for a guy suffering from dystonia, take every chance you can to get out and about.  Not sure if 10 days will be enough - bring lots of memory cards.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 05:17:13 PM by Halfrack »
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drmikeinpdx

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Re: Washington State National Parks
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 06:37:59 PM »
I live near Mt. St. Helens.  The best photos of the mountain/crater are from the visitor center called Johnston Ridge Observatory.  It's on the North side of the mountain so it has a view into the crater.  The biggest problem is cloudy weather that obscures the view.  Watch the weather forecast and try to pick the best weather day that fits into your travel window.

Hiking in the monument is a lot different than Rainier or Olympic NP, because all the old trees were destroyed by the eruption.  I personally don't enjoy hiking there.   

If you like caves, google Ape Cave, which is a very long lava tube cave on the South side of the Mountain.  It has easy access, but lots of rocks to climb over once you are inside.
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tiger82

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Re: Washington State National Parks
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2012, 04:01:23 PM »
How long is the driving time between the NE entrance near Sunrise and the Paradise entrance?  I was thinking of staying at one place but if it makes sense to spend 3 nights near Sunrise then 3 nights near Paradise.  For the day trip to MSH, is it significantly faster from one or the other?  Thanks, the trip planning is ramping up.  I identified lodging possibilities and trails for visiting/photographing.

What should I expect weatherwise in mid-late July?
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