2-15-19: Back to Mount Rainier area

Drove to Steptoe State Pk (Washington): the popular viewpoint for Palouse area photos. Had snow and ice on parts of the road; raining with sometimes reduced visibility. The park gate was locked at the entrance on the main road: I knew they had closed the road, but hoped I could get a least part way up the hill. No such luck.

Headed back to Nisqually Lodge (near the Mt Rainier NP entrance). Once I left Colfax, the snow came down heavy: the “flakes” looked as big as ping pong balls, and not like flakes at all. Passed a young man that had just slid off the road: a slush was collecting fast (33° I think), and his 2WD pickup lost it at 45mph. I offered to pull him out of the ditch, but he had already contacted the Sheriff. I decided letting them do it was much better: it would have been hard for me to not pull him into a reflector post, and passing traffic on the narrow two-lane road would have been a big hazard best left to the Sheriff.

Decided to get a Verizon phone while passing thru Yakima: have had little to no phone service in key areas on this trip: none in Orofino, ID or Ashford, WA; and at many other places on this trip. ATT has the best coverage in Texas, but Verizon has much better service in many of the mountain areas I travel.

I saw the Tieton River by the roadside, Hwy 12 between Naches and Rimrock, and it showed a lot of possibility:

N 46 40.5826 W 121 4.4238

I really want to come back: access to the river is limited, but there are a few places. It would have been better if I’d caught it earlier – I can tell the snow has melted a lot. I don’t know why I did not notice this river before, but I feel blessed to have found it this time.

Was anxious to get to Copper Creek before dark to check out conditions and hopefully get some shots. Got there at about 4:30 with plenty of light. Copper Creek Rd was not passable: a car was mostly blocking the entrance, there was approx 10″ of icy snow-slush, and many tree branches on the road. Most had been cleared, but there was still much to dodge. I drove only a few feet: my truck was having some difficulty getting traction. I decided to walk – it’s about 1/2 mile, but difficult walking in that slush. Water flow was OK, but not much better than last time. The remaining snow was very dirty and a tree (and several branches) had fallen over the creek. I shot some, but they weren’t great.

N 46 45.4766 W 121 57.6497

I had hoped for heavy accumulation of snow still on the trees, but the sun broke out today and the trees were already clear. So, there is nothing for me here at Mr Rainier. Right now I’m a bit bummed: I had high hopes for Copper Creek and on the Mountain, but neither looks good right now.

Wed, and maybe Tue are looking good for Cape Disappointment: the forecast has been up and down for the past week, but it’s up to 16′ swells now! (I know that swells of 12′ or more make some nice photos.)

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