Mount Rainier National Park is, of course, huge, and has many kinds of activities for all levels of interest and commitment, including those who like to challenge themselves to the snowy summit.
Not me, though, not ever and especially not when I was working on rehabbing an injured knee... and looking for walks to treat it to. In the Park's brochure I found two especially appealing ones, the Trail of the Shadows starting from the Longmire area and the Nisqually Vista Trail, known for its wildflowers, starting from Paradise. That's not hyperbole, it's the name of one of the park's centers of activity.
Unlike most trails in the park, Nisqually Vista, which is a 1.1-mile loop, is paved and suitable for strollers, wheelchairs, kids and easy walkers. Its elevations are gradual, and there's something to see around every corner.
One of the things you see around nearly every corner is the summit of Mount Rainier itself, high enough to keep a snow cap even in July. As the trail winds, and my attention was on green and flowers, it would suddenly pop into view, almost as if it were playing hide-and-seek.
At points, there's also a long look down onto the Nisqually Glacier down below. That's the frozen part, of which there is less each year; the melted part is the Nisqually River.
But back to the fields and flowers...
An occasional pool can be seen, and the sounds of small creeks can be heard.
Most of the flowers in the fields have the small clustered flowers that are common in alpine vegetation.
But some have larger and more flamboyant flowers.
It's possible to become intoxicated with the flowers as you walk and to take altogether too many pictures of them. I've restrained myself enough to put some of them only in the slideshow below.
All in all, Paradise lived up to its name, and the Nisqually Vista Trail was one of the highlights of a day on the mountain...