Bird’s Eye View of Mount Rainier

Flying from Vancouver to Seattle this week, I wished our pilot had latitude to make a few broad circles of Washington State’s Mount Rainier yesterday rather than hurtling onward without pause.

Mount Rainier Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

The tallest mountain in Washington State and, indeed, in the Cascades that stretch from southern British Columbia through to Washington, Oregon and northern California, Mount Rainier is 4,392 meters / 14,410 feet above sea level.

As may be anticipated from its crater, this is an active volcano – like Mount St. Helens of the same range, which is a two- to three-hour drive away. At half a million years, Mount Rainier is one of the youngest in the range; others began their rise 12 million years ago. It spans six major rivers, and is home to meadows of wildflowers. It has more glaciers than any other mountain in Washington and its 47 neighbouring states. In late February, with strands of clouds that might have been scattered across the horizon by the shake of a giant’s hand, it is a thing of beauty.


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