Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tipsoo Lake and Sunrise Again

After spending all day hiking to Summerland in Mt. Rainier National Park, I was pooped.  All I really wanted to do was relax at my campsite with a good dinner and a beer (or three). 

But.....the final item on this weekend's agenda was a sunset visit to Tipsoo Lake.

Tipsoo Lake

I'd seen fabulous photos of this pristine mountain lake taken during peak wildflower bloom.  Mt. Rainier rose above, casting perfect reflections on it's calm waters, while a riot of colorful flowers lined the shore. 

Backlit Mt. Rainier

Tired or not, I couldn't pass up a chance to capture sunset at this special place.  So after refueling with a quick dinner, I packed up my camera gear and drove the short distance to Chinook Pass.

Blue water near sunset

Having never visited Tipsoo Lake, I had no idea of light conditions at sunset.  Turns out it was highly disappointing.  Mt Rainier, due west of the lake, was horribly backlit, providing no chance of a decent capture.

More paintbrush

But I was here, so despite my weary legs and sore feet, I hiked the additional mile around the entire lake.  The trip wasn't entirely a bust.  I did capture a few nice photos of magenta paintbrush.

A few straggling avalanche lilies

And also discovered a small patch of straggler avalanche lilies.

A beautiful lake

The setting sun illuminated Tipsoo Lake's waters a lovely shade of deep blue.

Gnats at sunset

And  huge clouds of gnats swarming above the trees made for a few interesting photo ops.

But I could tell sunset wasn't gonna be great, so instead of sitting around for the next hour, I opted to head back to camp early.  I was extremely tired and ready to take up the neighboring campsite's invitation to join them for a beer.

Rainier view from Sunrise road

The following morning, my last day in the park, I decided to revisit Tipsoo Lake on my way out.  But first the road up to Sunrise Lodge called my name.  Since my Friday hike was cloudy and foggy I'd missed seeing the fabulous mountain views.  After two days of hiking, I wasn't ready for another long climb from the campground.  Today I'd take the lazy way up.

Sunrise Point

The road up to Sunrise, is long and winding.  Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp, it was designed to be driven slowly, so visitors could take in the tremendous views.

Mt Rainier fills the sky

And tremendous they were!  From near the huge parking lot that marked road's end, Mt. Rainer dominated the skyline.  Although I decided not to spend any time walking around the visitor center this time, I did get some fantastic views and photos of Washington State's iconic mountain.

Tipsoo Lake in the morning

Then I headed downhill (passing a half dozen very adventurous bike riders screaming down this narrow road) and climbed back up Chinook Pass to see Tipsoo Lake again.

Wildflower meadow

Morning light was way better for photography.  Rising up behind Tipsoo Lake, Mt Rainier was illuminated perfectly.

Rainier reflections

The prior evening, I'd noticed a few people crossing the road and disappearing into a wooded trail.  Where were they going?  Time to find out!

Upper Tipsoo Lake

I discovered another lovely alpine pond.  Not only was it lined with a few brilliant wildflowers, Mt Rainier was situated so that it cast a perfect reflection in it's still waters.

More magenta paintbrush

So this was where the photographers got their money shots!  After capturing several images of this wonderful reflection, I began to trek around the lake's perimeter, hoping for another good angle.

Path above the lake

But my legs and feet, worn out from two long hikes in as many days, protested loudly.  I ended up only climbing part way before calling uncle.  But at least I'd found the coveted photo spot.

Mountain panorama

A successful weekend of exploration!  After a long absence, I'd finally returned to Mt. Rainier National Park.  Although the peak wildflower bloom was yet to come, I'd gathered data on where and when to photograph some of it's natural wonders.  And after discovering how short a drive it is to get here, I guarantee I'll no longer be a stranger. 

Hmmm......fall color trip?


  1. Belas fotografias e imponentes montanhas, gostei.
    Um abraço.

  2. Wow Linda! Yet another magnificent area. So green and crisp and clear. Just wonderful. I hope the legs recovered quickly.

  3. You are lucky being able to visit places with such stunning views and scenery

  4. Linda, thanks for sharing your magical images.

  5. Hello, stunning images of Mt Rainier and the wildflowers are gorgeous. Wonderful collection of images, thanks for taking me along on your hike. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  6. Okay I'm tired! Great shots though for sure and I would wonder how much/long they have of fall colors before snow flies up there. Hmmmm....

  7. Boy, you sure lucked out with one final clear day! What a gorgeous setting!

  8. Linda, you have outdone yourself! Your photos are absolutely breathtaking! What a gorgeous area! Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. The views of the mountain are stunning. Impossible to choose a favourite.

  10. gorgeous. love the moon in image 13 too.

  11. Your energy paid off with a variety of excellent shots.

  12. Truly stunning photographs of an amazing area.

  13. That is such extraordinary natural beauty - wonderful photos.

  14. Yet another great place to explore! Beautiful alpine scenery.

  15. almost went to bed...glad I stayed awake to see these.💕

  16. Nice set of pictures, Linda. I think I met some of your gnat friends during my stay at Ranier NP

  17. Look at all that snow on Mt. Rainier! I love seeing all your hiking photos. So many places I just never get too!

  18. I knew it kept some snow but that seems like a lot of snow for August! What a beautiful Mountain:)

  19. Stunning photos. The Cascades have always been a dream of mine to see and hike. One day I hope!

  20. Breathtaking captures, Linda.
    Wonderful post!

  21. Lovely photos and even a moon in a couple shots! Glad you managed to get some good shots for evening. Never know what you will find on these trips. Mt. Rainier is beautiful! It's been awhile since I've been there and maybe I'll get back there soon. Not far from here either! Happy weekend, my friend!

  22. wow, just wow. It seems they are like a painting. You are an incredible photographer!

  23. You scored! I'm drooling over your photos, Linda. Even the gnats got their moment in the spotlight. Great shots of the big mountain!

  24. Gorgeous views of the snow capped Mt Rainier! Even the peaks in Glacier NP did not have all this amount of snow. One of my nephews climbed to the summit of Mt Rainier a few years ago. He almost lost a toe to frostbite, but he made it!

  25. Pretty flowers and magnificent scenery! Thank you for sharing your captures.

  26. Aquela montanha com neve é espectacular e o Sunrise Point tem uma vista espectacular.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

  27. Hi! The Mount Rainer's photos are breathtakingly beautiful. The reflection on the lake is very cool too. Did you have a enough rest? I think three glasses of beer would be very delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Good for you hiking to Tipsoo in spite of having already done another hike! Looks like a beautiful place. Such amazing scenery around Mt Ranier. But, hope for sure that you were not in the middle of all of those gnats. WOW! I was glad when I went to Bryce Canyon and so happy that you had told me about the beauty there. It was an amazing place

  29. You are one die hard girl! :) It may have been a bit disappointing for you, but you managed to get some breathtaking photos. The lake and flowers are gorgeous!

  30. Amazing images! Spectacular views! Excellent work!

  31. Your photography is just stunning Linda.

  32. Gorgeous captures! Wonderful views of the lakes and the mountains.


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