Sunshine Point But a Memory

Album Cover: Graduation

"Y'all pop the trunk, I pop the hood (Ferrari)."
Kanye West / Good Life

Posted on December 30, 2006 9:38 PM in Personal
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Many of my fondest memories from growing up involve day and camping trips at Mount Rainier. When a friend of mine told me about flooding that had completely destroyed parts of the mountain that are an integral part of those memories, I was, needless to say, intrigued. It wasn't until tonight, though, that I finally got around to looking into it.

Last month, the mountain received 18 inches of rain in a 36-hour period. The flooding that ensued changed the landscape and personality of the surrounding park in a myriad of ways. A video and slide tour document the effects and aftermath of the flooding.

One of my favorite places at Mount Rainier National Park is Sunshine Point:

Photo of Sunshine Point

Memories of your first apparent UFO sighting, of rafting with one of your best friends down a 2-foot-deep stream with a seemingly deadly current, of being chased by a single bee for nearly a mile, and of your first camping trip with the girl you'll eventually marry aren't the types of memories you lose easily. All of those memories, for me, are thanks to Sunshine Point.

As the aforementioned slide tour explains so simply:

Only a small section of the campground remains. The rest is now river bed.

It is kind of a shock to me that Sunshine Point is no more. Looking at the impact the flooding had on the rest of the mountain, it is clear that man-made devices, no matter how wonderful or seemingly timeless they may be, really cannot hold a candle to the power of Mother Nature. Seeing the aftermath of the November flooding and realizing that Sunshine Point is now but a memory in my mind (and doubtless many others'), I can say I am glad that I knew of such a place. I've made yet another adult realization that the places we love in life aren't guaranteed against time, just like the people we love aren't. Again, the last slide of the slide tour states it best:

Mount Rainier is a restless mountain. The roads, bridges, trails, and campgrounds we build are secondary to the elemental forces that created — and continue to transform — this landscape we love. Our great works of human enterprise will fade away with time. The mountain will endure.

I look forward to experiencing many more memories-to-be at Mount Rainier. The sheer vastness of it is enough to ensure that any one missing part won't change the greatness of the whole.

Comments

Phil on March 19, 2007 at 7:09 PM:

I used to stage at Sunshine before climbs and hikes. I loved that little campground! It lives on in my mind as well!

You said it like it is....

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Ton Muller on March 03, 2016 at 8:12 AM:

I remember the day and night in july 1983 we camped at Sunshine Point with my wife and two children doing a tour in the western part of the states in 20 days.
Never to forget.
Ton

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