There is something inexplicably tranquil about Seattle. It’s not unemotional — quite the contrary in fact — but it’s been the only place where my mind can detach itself from the furor of my current job. Although I visited it this year already, I reasoned that if I drove six hours each way in my various Stuttgart excursions that I should also be able to fly six hours across the country, so I set off for the airport at 3 AM one Friday in late September to put my workaholism on hold for 72 hours.
It seems that everywhere I go, I end up chasing the sun — either as a sunrise or sunset, it’s almost a sure bet that I’ll be pining to be at “the” right spot for a photo. As pervasive as digital photography is today, it’s quite easy for someone to be at the right spot at the right time of the right day: but going out of town with the goal of taking a certain photo can always be elusive.
It wouldn’t be me to give up on a sunrise photo, however, so I decided I’d give it attempt this trip, too. The forecast predicted clearing on Friday and Saturday, and with my being unable to get out of bed at 2:30 AM on Friday my only chances for a sunrise photo at Mt. Rainier were for Saturday. Chinook Pass — one of my favorite spots in the Park — opened just after noon on Friday, so it was there that I planned to take a sunrise photo; ideally, with Tipsoo Lake in the foreground. I hadn’t visited this quiet version of Paradise since August 11, 2007, but my goal had one small flaw: in late May 2012, Tipsoo was still under 13′ of snow.
I booked a trip to Seattle under the impression that it’d been two years since I had last visited, but when I looked back at old photos I was shocked to realize that it had only been a year since I had visited the Emerald City. Unable to change my flight date without incurring the airfare again in change fees, I decided to see if the weather of 2012 would cooperate with blue-sky pictures of my favorite mountain as much as it did just over twelve months ago.