Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Foggy Reality at Mt. Rainier

There is a situation where fog is beautiful, and very dramatic, this is the kind of fog I love.
Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
However, there are situations also, that fogs scare me especially when driving on mountain roads that meanders over cliffs with several thousands feet vertical drop off. What caused this fear in me? Maybe, because  in San Diego, it is very common to have the airplanes not land because of the danger due to nil visibility. So, whenever we are driving on mountain roads and encounter very thick fog we do not see what is in front of us, nor around us, I can't help that fear to get in me.
Our Rented Car Surrounded by Fog
I would usually say a prayer for our safety, and everyone else on the road to be safe. Most of the pictures you see in my previous post about Mt. Rainier National Park was taken on our first day. Our reality was, we did most of our activity in the first day, despite not so good weather, but it was good enough for us to take our chances to hike and explore around. The second day, was a different story. Near Sun Beam Creek is the Reflection Lake,
Reflection Lake, Lost in Fog
where we are supposed to see this inspiring landscape on a beautiful summer day.
Reflection Lake ( picture taken at the poster in Reflection Lake) 
this is how Reflection Lake is supposed to look like on a clear summer day- and when all snow has melted 
Well, we could not even see the trees which are supposed to be in front of us. The lake has not completely thawed yet, but that's all we saw, the ice close to us. Several feet from us, we just have to guess what is in there. We waited, and waited for fogs to clear, but with no hope. It thickened, and thickened  until visibility became poorer and poorer. We decided to drive back to Paradise until hopefully the fogs will be lifted a little bit even just a few feet from the ground that we can at least see what we are walking on. We would walk back and forth between the Visitor Center and Paradise Inn. A lot of people dressed in their winter clothing ( it is in the middle of summer, but with winter conditions) and hiking boots were inside the Visitor Center or the Inn, like us, killing time. Park rangers were not advising to hike because of the very poor visibility and blizzard, and two days before that, a hiker was lost in the trail and the poor visibility is not helping the search team to find the lost hiker. We felt for some tourists who came in for a day ( some by tour buses who will be there for a day only and then drive back to the city), since they would pose in front of the Visitor Center trying to make it still a jovial picture day yet not even the Visitor Center Building would probably be seen in the picture because of almost zero visibility. Some thought of better solution, that is to take picture inside the visitor center! It was a very crowded visitor center. All we did was shop, watch their movie presentation, eat, and get bored. We decided to have fun in the snow ( just no pictures since it was impossible to take pictures) instead of sulking indoors at the Visitor Center and the Inn. However, it was not fun at all when the visibility is so low you're afraid you will hit a tree or a rock, or fall off a cliff as you slide, and the blizzard and icy wind would whip our face. We decided to go back and sulk at the Visitor Center again. About 4:00 pm, the parking lot at the Visitor Center and the Paradise Inn were almost empty, visitors probably left already and had given up. We decided to follow, left the higher elevation and went down. Down at Longmire, at least there was no blizzard, no thick fog that makes visibility zero, just rain. We hiked in the rain, and RAIN IS BEAUTIFUL and REFRESHING!!! We were glad we went down, left the snow and bathe in the rain. 
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  1. Betchai, living as I do in the Pacifica - Daly City area, fog is a way of life. I love it until it becames so dangerous one is afraid to drive. It is so thick, at times, you really can't see more than a few feet in front of you. People, often, don't adjust their driving to these conditions and that scares me. I drive with my hazard lights blinking, in hopes that drivers will see them and slow down a bit.

  2. how can you even drive a the kind of fog?!

  3. I am not so surprised with this sceneries Sistah... I'm kinda used to it. I find it really awesome too being raised and lived all my life in the tropics. But situations like this have a lot of drawbacks and i don't want to start... hahahaha

  4. It does not look like it was much fun to drive in, but it made for some very dramatic and beautiful pictures.

  5. Wow...with that can still drive? Does it thrill you? :p

  6. I'm scare when to drive when there was hard rain and I can't see. So I know it must be terrifying to drive in the fog Betchai..

  7. How beautiful the fog is, I think it is a mystery how and where it appears sometimes. I love your photos, it's so dramatic.

  8. yes thats a dramatic foggy scene i must say.

  9. Really dramatic, Beth! Reminded me of the movie, The Fog. Am amaze you guys were able to drive at all. Still got some lovely photos despite the fog -cool huh! :)

  10. Your photos are still amazing though with the fog looking so mysterious..

  11. wow! that was a thick fog. I can't imagine you driving on the road with that kind of fog. Thank God u are safe. It's like a scene in the movie (: