"Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action."
August is a great month to visit the two treasures of Mt Rainier - Summerland and Panhandle Gap. Most of the snow covering the steep slopes near the top of the gap is gone, which makes for an easier access to its expansive views of the Goat Rocks, Mt Adams, and on clear days Oregon's Mt Hood.
When the wildflowers are in bloom, Summerland's meadows come alive with Indian Paintbrush, Lupine, Crimson Columbine, Avalanche Lily, Pink Mountain Heather, Bird’s-beak Lousewort, Subalpine Buttercup and countless others. On a warm afternoon the perfume can be pretty intense.
The trail up to the Panhandle Gap leaves the soft and fragrant meadows of Summerland behind and takes you through a World of rocks, boulders, cascading streams, waterfalls, and emerald green tarns.
We found a semi shaded spot for our lunch and feasted on both; the tasty food and the jaw-dropping views. We were lucky as we got to observe two groups of mountain goats descending the steep slopes and then heading down across the trail.
After sufficient rest we started on our 6 mile long track back to the trailhead. The views just kept on delighting all our senses with the timeless beauty of the noblest mountain of them all.