This has been a good winter so far at Mount Rainier National Park, at least in terms of snow.
As of this morning, there are 120 inches on the ground at Paradise. So far this winter, there have been 420 inches of snow total.
That is well ahead of last year’s total at this time, when there had been just 292 inches of snow. Last year on Feb. 2, there were just 86 inches of snow on the ground.
But there was a lot of snow late in the season in 2010. In fact there were 126 inches of snow on the ground at Paradise on June 10, 2010.
While there is plenty of snow on the ground, the crowds have been a little less than last year at this time.
That was the assessment of Curt Jacquot, West District area ranger. I talked to him Saturday after enjoying the snowplay area with my family and friends.
Even if there are fewer people making the trip to Paradise, jacquot and the rest of the staff are making efforts to meet visitor needs. Thanks to an increase in the number of volunteers, Jacquot said they are able to offer more guided snowshoe walks. That way they don’t have to turn away people on busy days.
Guided snowshoe walks are offered on weekends and holidays at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
While we were sledding, I saw lots of people snowshoeing on their own, or heading up the mountain to ski and snowboard. The Paradise Valley Road also was attracting a lot of users.