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|Mt. Rainier National Park|
Grove of the Patriarchs
Among the park's most noteworthy features are its vast forests of great trees. One of the most interesting sections of fest is The Grove of the Patriarchs. This grove of massive trees is located on an island in the Ohanapecosh River at an altitude of 2200 feet. The Grove of the Patriarchs is reached by a suspension bridge which crosses the Ohanepecosh River, shown below.
A virgin forest of old enormous trees is found in the Grove of the Patriarchs, many of which are in the range of 500-1000 years old. The trees in the grove benefited from growing on the island where they were insulated from periodic firest which swept the surrounding area.
The grove features a collection of Douglas firs, western red cedars, and western hemlock. Some of the trees in this grove reach a height of 250-300 feet.
In the grove there are more than 20 wester red cedars which measure more than 25 feet in circumference, 10 Douglas firs greater than 25 feet. One Douglas fir is 35 feet in circumference.
The Grove of the Patriarchs features a profusion of vegetation in the forest understory, including some 70 or 80 species of plants.
Wildflowers and Plants
In addition to the the great mountain, Mt. Rainier National Park is also known for the wide array of wildflowers which appear during the short summer season.
For potential visitors, ParkVision recommends "Story Behind the Scenery" guides and "Trails Ilustrated" maps.
Most of the wildflowers in the park are found in meadows which are located between about 4500 and 6500 feet of altitude, even up to 8000 feet. They appear in the wake of the melting snowcover which has accumulated in winter. The spectacular display of wildflowers in the park is due to a combination of soil, topography, and a number of other factors.
One often seen species of wildflower is bear grass. A few of these lants can be seen above, and in the picture below. This plant, not surprisingly, is a favored food of the black bear.
This white flower commonly seen is the avalanche lily.
Another of the brightly colored plants is red heather.
The magenta paintbrush is easy to spot because of its bright, scarlet color.
More magenta paintbrush are seen here along with some aster.
Another variation of this wildflower is the orange paintbrush.
Here can be seen the Labrador tea, also known as the trappers tea.
The western pasque flower, shown below, has a "furry" stem.
Marsh marigolds can be found in wet, marshy environments.
Common in the understory of the forests are varieties of ferns.
Alongside the fern, the Oregon grape is seen below.
The damp environment of the Rainier forests also provide an ideal environment for moss, seen on the rock below.
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- All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2012
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