The wildflower meadows of Paradise Valley

Mount Rainier—The Parkby Don H. Meredith

Mount Rainier is a dormant volcano, one of many in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, Oregon and California. It has the largest mass of any mountain in the lower 48 United States. Mt. Rainier also has the most extensive glacier system of any such mountain. It has been used as a training ground for mountaineers practising their ice climbing skills before venturing into the Himalaya.

In 1966, I was employed as a seasonal Fire Control Aide, which was really an apprentice ranger position. While in training for our duties at Longmire, I met Tim Hall and we became fast friends. He and I ended up on the Sunrise side of the mountain. This turned out to be an ideal posting for me because Sunrise was off the well-beaten tourist path. Sunrise was also a beautiful part of the park, being near timberline with magnificent views of the mountain and easy access to many of the nearby wilderness trails. Tim and I shared the duty of manning the Mount Fremont Fire Lookout Tower. He spent five days a week at the tower and I spent two, covering his days off. When not in the tower, I assisted the rangers at Sunrise.

In 1967, I was hired as a Seasonal Park Ranger, where I served at Lake James, a backcountry posting in the the northeastern portion of the park. In 1968, I served as a ranger at Sunrise. In 1969, I took part-time duties as a ranger at Sunrise, while I conducted a graduate study in alpine ecology in Huckleberry Park, just north of Sunrise. As part of my ranger duties that year, I served as the climbing ranger at Camp Schurman on weekends. The following photographs are taken from all four years.

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