Our third hike of the season and what a treat. We finally, got a look at Grand Park in Mount Rainier National Park. We parked at Sunrise (road open early this year, not the lodge) and took off around 10:15 am following the trail to Berkeley Camp, then on to Grand Park, and eventually Lake Eleanor. At the lake, we hit about 9.5 miles, one-way. We arrived back at Sunrise around 7:15 pm. Time-wise, we were moving slow, stopping for a leisurely lunch, plant photos, and just taking in the view.
On either side of Grand Park (Berkley Camp to Grand Park and Grand Park to Lake Eleanor), our path was lined with a dazzling number of lilies, primarily white glacier lily (Erythronium montanum) and yellow avalanche lily (Erythronium grandiflorum). There was a lot of variation and we suspect we there could have been other species mixed in, but we couldn't prove it.
On Grand Park itself, lupine was the most conspicuous, though curiously, many plants were damaged as if a strong wind or freeze had happened a day or so prior.
When not looking at the ground, our gaze was either on the majestic Rainier itself and the clouds playing about it, or the curiously conical Fremont Lookout. We tackled the Fremont Lookout 2 years ago in Mount Rainier National Park - Sunrise Hikes: Fremont Lookout, Skyscraper Peak, Burroughs Mountain.
Length: 19.0 miles as recorded by our Garmin etrex Vista HCx
Elevation Gain: 4,500 feet total by our Garmin GPS tracker (attached to camera). [Sunrise Lodge ~ 6400', high point ~ 6800' (near Frozen Lake), just before Lake Eleanor ~ 4900']
Duration: 10:15 am - 7:15, 9 hours
Location: Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise, White River, Mount Rainier National Park
The Burke links are to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture's WTU Image Collection: Plants of Washington Lichens of Washington. This is a useful site for confirming ranges of plants. We also used the Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest (Turner, Gustafson) book and app. See this press release for details. The app is worth the money!
Pictures of the plants listed below can be found later in the post.
Apiaceae (Parsley Family)
Lomatium triternatum (nineleaf lomatium) (Burke)
We saw lots of Lomatium on the Grand Park plateau.
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Agoseris alpestris (smooth mountain dandelion) (Burke)
Antennaria lanata (wooly pussytoes) (Burke)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Lupinus, likely latifolius (broadleaf lupine) (Burke)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Erythronium montanum (white, glacier lily) (Burke) [Etymology of erythronium]
Erythronium grandiflorum (yellow avalanche lily) (Burke)
Xerophyllum tenax (bear grass) (Burke)
Most lilies were on the climb up/down from Grand Park.
Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)
Platanthera stricta (slender bog orchid) (Burke)
Corallorhiza, either maculata (coralroot) or mertensiana (pacific coralroot) (Burke)
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)
Veronica cusickii (Cusick's speedwell) (Burke)
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)
Phlox diffusa (spreading phlox) (Burke)
Polemonium californicum (low Jacob's-ladder) (Burke)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)
Bistorta bistortoides (alpine bistort) (Burke)
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)
Dodecatheon jeffreyi (Jeffrey's shooting star) (Burke)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
Anenome occidentalis (western pasqueflower) (Burke)
Caltha leptosepala (white marsh marigold) (Burke)
Salicaceae (Willow Family)
Salix commutata (under-green willow) (Burke)
Violaceae (Violet Family)
Viola adunca (hookedspur violet) (Burke)
Views from the Trail
The Start of the Show: Glacier Lily
Left: Agoseris alpestris (smooth mountain dandelion); Right: Lomatium triternatum (nineleaf lomatium).
Left: Anenome occidentalis (western pasqueflower); Center: Antennaria lanata (wooly pussytoes); Right: Bistorta bistortoides (alpine bistort).
Left: Phlox diffusa (spreading phlox); Right: Viola adunca (hookedspur violet).
Left: Polemonium californicum (low Jacob's-ladder); Right: Veronica cusickii (Cusick's speedwell)
Left: Insect on Xerophyllum tenax (bear grass); Xerophyllum tenax (bear grass) Bloom.