Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ABC Wednesday--P is for...

P is for the piano at the Paradise Inn and for the Paradise Inn itself with its summer long Parade of guests.
The Paradise Inn at Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park is one of the treasured lodges of the National Parks which were built int he early part of the last century. I believe Paradise Inn dates to 1916. I can't imagine the hauling of building materials to 5300 foot elevation on the early roads of the park. In fact, can you imagine the construction of those early roads?
The Paradise Inn was reopened last season after being closed for two years for renovations. these renovations were done to strenghen the original structure and bring it up to code. The original character of the Inn was preserved.
The chandeliers in the Paradise Inn depict the wildflowers of the region. The huge beams were harvested in nearby forests. Some probably came from the site--something not likely to happen in a National Park these days.
No matter the weather, guests can have a cozy haven for reading, playing games, a cup of coffee, or just a chat. You might peek out the window of the Inn and find it to be a bit foggy.

But the treasure of Paradise is not just the Inn, but the out:
Standing at 14,410 feet, Mt. Rainier towers over its near neighbors in the Cascade Range, and so is known to make its own weather. That is a lenticular cloud hovering over the mountain. A common sight, this Astronomy Picture of the Day photo shows some spectacular ones from a few months ago with links to explanations of the phenomenon.
Even on days when the view is not that spectacular, the trails are very inviting around Paradise, and thousands of visitors arrive daily to visit. It's a good thing the close ups are gorgeous, as I have a couple of friends who have been to Paradise multiple times and still not seen the mountain.

We aren't the only ones who appreciate the trails around Paradise.

You would also be likely to see marmots, ptarmigan, foxes, and last summer because the late snow melt made the munching slim in the higher country, one visitor told me he had had seven bears in sight at one time.
This is a view across Paradise Valley.

and so is this:

Paradise is known for its winter snowfall. In fact, for many years it held the record for annual snowfall--something like 90 feet. the record fell in the late 90s when a few inches more blanketed nearby Mt. Baker.
On our first snowshoe hike at Paradise, we were treated to wonderful weather and this sight of snowboarders down by the Nisqually Glacier.
When do you think this one was taken? No, I won't make you guess. It was June 6, 2008, on the Stevens Canyon Road approaching Paradise from the east. Weather can be unpredictable, but June snows are not usually of the blizzard variety.
Now let us speak of history. The charm of the Inn had a most unusual neighbor for over 40 years in the shape of the old visitors' center. Built in the 60s, its space age style reflected the times. But it was not practical for 5300 feet up a mountain with the heaviest snowfall in the world, cost for heating the roof so it would not collapse were phenomenal.
The old building was deteriorating as well. So a new visitor center was constructed and opened last fall. It fits in with the historic buildings of Paradise and is much more cost effective to operate.

So, there you are. Just another day in Paradise.
Visit the ABC Wednesday site to find other participants, and shout out to Mrs. Nesbitt who started the trend.


James said...

What a wonderful post with so many great pictures. Thanks.

Martha said...

Thanks for the prview. I'm glad the Inn reopened in time for our visit, we've seen many of the old National Park inns and I would have hated to miss this one.
We often see lenticular clouds in the eastern Sierra but nothing quite like this. The mountain looks like it has a halo.

PERBS said...

I am one of those who hasn't "seen" the mountain yet so I appreciate your narrative with photos today!

Thumbelina said...

What beautiful photos! I got sidetracked too about the lenticular clouds. Fascinating phenomenon. Great post.

Doreen said...

thanks for showing me around. I have never been there. the Inn looks like a homey place.

diXymiss said...

Great shots and description. The halo-like cloud is fascinating. My favorite piX is that peek through the lodge window out into the foggy forest. Cool!

Joy said...

What a beautiful place. I'd seen the lenticular cloud on the Astronomy Picture of the Day (can't resist that site) so thanks to your great post now I know about the area.

Janie said...

Greaet post. I just love the pic of Ranier with the glowing cloud on top. Paradise Inn looks like an amazing place, too.

Tumblewords: said...

Beautiful country! Glorious post - full of lovely photos and terrific narrative.

photowannabe said...

This truly is Paradise. Gorgeous pictures of a magical part of the country.

Mara said...

What a fantastic place. I especially love the photo looking out over foggy trees. Such atmosphere in that!
Great choice for P

Liz said...

That's an awful lot of snow!

The cloud over the mountain is great. We stayed at Deer Lodge and Buffalo Lodge. Deer Lodge was the genuine article with a long history.

Daryl said...

Perfectly Packaged Plethora of Photographed Ps!

jay said...

It looks so beautiful, but I'd be nervous of the bears, for sure!

My favourite photo is the lenticular cloud over Mt Rainier. Stunning! The mountain is wearing a halo!