Went first to Copper Creek Rd (an old logging road near the West entrance of Mt Rainier NP) and shot the creek from the bridge again. Last time, on Feb 11, 2017, while it had been snowing in the area, it had not fallen on that part of the creek, and I was amazed that the moss on the rocks was still green: In other places I have been, the moss turned brown when it got cold. http://www.buddyhawkins-photography.com/slider/copper-creek-mt-rainier-natl-park-washington-2/?imgcat=waterfalls-rivers-and-lakes
This time the rocks were covered with snow:
The first part of Copper Creek Rd was well maintained: I could tell that the road had been scraped: there was a thin layer of snow about halfway up the mountain.
It then turned to deeper snow with 6 – 8″ ruts. About halfway up, I turned right onto the road that I had been thinking about (and hoping for a view of Mt Rainier) since last year. It was not as well maintained and the snow was deeper and less traveled (the main road had tracks of many vehicles, while this fork had one set of older tracks). I drove approx .3 miles up that road (to the creek crossing). It was all uphill driving, so I knew that if I had any difficulty I could just turn back, and going downhill would be easier. There was a tight turn about halfway up: the area was actually quite large, but there were some deep ruts on the right where someone’s tires dug in (snow was so deep the earth was not showing even in 12″ deep holes), and the snow was much deeper on the left. I scouted a line and drove it fine.
When I got to the creek crossing I stopped for some photos, then decided not to continue any further up the road. I had been a bit nervous about the whole thing anyway, and the tight turn at the creek sealed the deal for me. I considered trying to turn around there, as it appeared to be wide enough, but I could not tell where there was ground under the snow: I could have driven off into a deep ditch (as I have done before in a similar circumstance). So, I backed down all the way to the main road: approx 1/3 mile. As mentioned above, I was a bit nervous when driving forward, and now I would be backing down the same route! Did fine except at the turn that was a challenge on the way up: I turned too wide and got stuck. I decided the winch would be easier than using the MaxTrax (https://www.maxtrax.com.au/): there was a tree about 50′ straight ahead, and I wanted to try out the winch soon anyway. It turned out being an extremely easy pull: once I winched a few inches the truck was able to move on its own.
Once back on Copper Creek Rd, I drove on up to the viewpoint. I was expecting to see Rainier in the distance, but it was amazingly close! Took my breath away for a minute! A large flat area on top – with plenty of room for a number of cars.