I had so much fun hiking and photographing at Mt. Rainier National Park. Easy access, a wide variety of subjects and it wasn't too crowded. (At least weekdays.) In late July I found beautiful skies and an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers. I got more shots in 3 days than I usually get in a week. The Paradise Inn which is inside the park was being remodeled until 2008, so I stayed in the nearby town of Ashford. Just outside the park it's about a 20 minute drive up to the main locations.
Early mornings I would head over to Reflection Lakes. There were 2 lakes and only 3 or 4 photographers so I felt like I had the place all to myself. There wasn't much of a sunrise so I waited until the light began hit some foreground. The lake remained calm for a few minutes and I got some shots in. As the wind picked up I would move on.
Paradise Meadows is known for it's spectacular wildflower displays. The blooms generally start in late July and peak the first week of August. I was there just as things were beginning to heat up. Avalanche Lilies covered the hillsides. Fields of Indian Paintbrush were about to bloom.
The honeycomb trails of Paradise Meadows offer many vantage points. I took the trail up to Upper Myrtle Falls. You'll want to get there midday. Earlier it's in shadow. The wildflowers are easy to spot and deer roam the hillsides.
For sunset I'd travel back to town and stop at some of the turnouts along the way.They over look the valley. Plenty of room to park even if you're in an R.V.
The very first day I saw some foxes playing, but they scurried off before I could get a shot off. I asked around and was told that the picnic area might be good. Wow! Deer, grouse and the foxes, all in one morning! The little red fox cubs even tried to play tag with me. They'd run in and out and then dart at my feet. Apparently people had been feeding them. Mom stood by and watched them. When she figured out that I wasn't going to feed then she ran off and the cubs followed. It was only a couple of minutes, but needless to say it was the highlight of my trip.
See more photos of Washington on my photo gallery at http://www.craigwolf.com/
Join Don Gale's Mt. Rainier Photo Workshop at http://www.photographybydon.com/
Plan your own trip with a photo guide on Mt. Rainier http://www.photographamerica.com/.