The Mythical Mountain

When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, I had a co-worker who called Mt. Rainier the mythical mountain. He called it that because for the first few months he was here, he never saw it. That was during the winter, when the days are short and the clouds are usually low. It’s rare to see it like this, as I did today:

Mt. Rainier, partially obscured by clouds

Mt. Rainier, partially obscured by clouds, as seen over the Federal Way School District’s maintenance facility. Dec. 11, 2013. Image credit: Taken and processed by Cujo359

As someone once said about his nephew’s head, the thing is big enough to have its own weather system.

Dana Hunter wrote recently that in this part of the world we live with the reality of active volcanos all the time. We get to know their moods and try to live with their occasional outbursts. I’m sure Dana would explain that Mt. Rainier is a stratovolcano, which gets its lovely pointy peak from various violent eruptions that were recent enough that the peak hasn’t been eroded away. As with nearby Mt. St. Helens, it could one day erupt catastrophically, and if the eruption is in the wrong direction, it could devastate a good deal of the southern part of Puget Sound.

Like many beautiful things, it’s also very dangerous. Still, on days like today, it’s hard to think about the danger when you see that big mountain wrapped in its own clouds.

About Cujo359
An engineer, computer programmer, and former defense worker who also does amateur theatre. Contact: my nom de ordinateur at

2 Responses to The Mythical Mountain

  1. One Fly says:

    Mountains attract clouds and I enjoy seeing that and especially if you are at a bit of elevation and xome miles away. The Spanish Peaks do that just to the south and Greenhorn to the north.

    Today though clear sky’s – 38- no wind. Better than it has been.

    • Cujo359 says:

      Thanks to all the local stratovolcanos (Rainier, Adams, Baker, St. Helens, Hood), it’s fairly common to see clouds working their way around mountains out here. This just happened to be a moment when there was an interesting formation and I had my camera.

      Out here it’s getting warmer, too. Might hit the mid-40s today. Amazing how quickly I got tired of the cold weather. Must be getting old…

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