FT 4 - Mount Rainier National Park: An Icon on the Horizon

Sunday, August 6, 2017: 7:00 AM-7:00 PM
M.L. King Jr. Lobby, Oregon Convention Center
Tara Chestnut, National Park Service
Kevin Skerl, National Park Service; Rebecca Lofgren, National Park Service; and Anna O. Mangan, National Park Service
Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous USA, spawning six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. On the drive from Portland, organizers will give brief talks about the history and setting of Mount Rainier National Park (founded in 1899, prior to the establishment of the National Park Service), highlight key ecological research and long-term monitoring programs, and discuss how researchers can initiate new projects. We will travel to the eastside of the park and make two stops. The first will include a short hike through an ancient forest (Grove of the Patriarchs) then we will spend the afternoon discussing research focused on climate change while hiking in subalpine meadows with spectacular views of the mountain and glaciers (Sunrise). At an elevation of 6,400 feet, Sunrise is the highest point that can be reached by vehicle at Mount Rainier National Park. On clear summer days, Sunrise provides breathtaking views of Mount Rainier, Emmons glacier, vibrant wildflower meadows, butterflies, songbirds, amphibians, and subalpine mammals. Sunrise Point offers nearly 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys, Mount Rainier, and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range such as Mount Adams and Mount St Helens. The Sunrise Visitor Center offers exhibits, guided interpretive programs, book sales, and a picnic area. There is a gift shop available at the Sunrise Day Lodge.

Registration Fee: $135

Equipment and Attire: Participants should be prepared for a cool morning and warm afternoon, rain is always a possibility. Clothing layers are key in the mountains. Lightweight pants (or shorts), short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts, a lightweight jacket and rain jacket, tennis shoes or hiking boots are appropriate. The trip will include hikes along dirt trails that have a few relatively short inclines and options for afternoon hikes vary from easy, moderate to difficult. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are recommended. Binoculars and cameras are definitely worth bringing along. Biting insects are few but may be present.

7:00 AM depart Oregon Convention Center and travel to Mount Rainier National Park
9:45 AM arrive at Grove of the Patriarchs where participants can use the restroom and take a short hike through 1000 year old forest to an island in the Ohanapecosh River (1mi/1.6km on maintained trail, 160ft/48m elevation gain)
10:30 AM Board buses and travel to Sunrise
11:30 AM Arrive at Sunrise, eat lunch
12:00 PM Hike a 1mi/1.6km trail to view the Emmons Glacier where glacier monitoring and research will be discussed. The hike will be at a leisure pace and will take about 1 hour to complete.
1:00 PM Meet at Sunrise Visitors Center, organizers will lead hikes through subalpine meadows of various distances ranging from 2 mi/3.2 km to 5.6 mi/9.0 km.
4:00 PM Board bus and depart Sunrise to return to Oregon Convention Center, arrive by 7:00 PM

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