Rambling Rodericks travel blog

One of the overlooks

Looking down the canyon at the Cowletz River

Rustic Style architecture

Mt. Rainier bus

Blue Marlin going back out to sea


There were many waterfalls and deep canyons all through the park. This one was of interest because this is the head of the Cowletz River. It is melt off of the Cowletz Glacier from which Cowletz County takes its name (an Indian tribe name). Dan was born in Cowletz County sixty some odd years ago.

The box canyon through which it cascades here is about 180 feet deep but only 13 feet wide at the narrow section. It roars as it passes through this restricted rocky passage.

Further toward the western side of the park, on the south flank, is a place called Longmire. The Longmire family discovered hot mineral springs here and ultimately started a “medicinal mineral spa” business. They built a hotel and advertised nationwide: why go to Europe when you can visit a medicinal mineral spring right in the USA? People came by pack horse, departing from the Tacoma and Seattle areas.

However, soon tourists were making their way up to Mt. Rainier. It was the beginnings of motor car and motor coach travel expeditions. A hotel was built and the area quickly developed into a world renowned place to visit.

The CCC and WPA helped build the roads and the buildings once the area became a National Park. The style of the buildings became so popular, that all subsequent National Park buildings were modeled after the style first developed here. The “style” became known as “Rustic”. If you've been to Yellowstone or other National Parks or Monuments, you may have noticed other buildings with this same look – the Rustic style.

A bus transportation system was begun in the 1930s. Folks would take the train into Tacoma or Seattle. They would then board one of the several buses head for Rainier. They would stay in the Rustic style hotel, one of which is still in service near this building. This one is now an administration building – but it is an original. As is this Kenworth bus.

It was a long days drive – about 260 miles. We left home close to 7 AM and got home about 8:30 PM. But we crammed a lot into a one day trip to a very large mountain and National Park. And upon returning look what we got to see going back out to sea......the Blue Marlin again. This time she was not hauling anything on her back.



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