Mount Rainier National Park Impressions (Charles Gurche)

Last time we chatted I was longing to see Mt Rainier again and had comforted myself with one of Art Wolfe’s great photography collections of the Cascade Range: Seven Summits.

I also went through Charles Gurche’s Mount Rainier National Park Impressions [LibraryThing / WorldCat]. Gurche’s book is not as ambitious as Wolfe’s but many of his pictures capture the light and color of Rainier as well as any I’ve seen. Whereas Wolfe climbed every Cascade peak he presented in his book, Gurche kept to the more common visitor routes around a single mountain. You don’t have to be a climber to know his venues. This gives you the feel of revisiting familiar places: the porch chairs at Longmire, the meadows at Paradise, Comet Falls, Tipsoo Lake, etc. I’ve been all over that mountain and the sights never bore me.

Some of Gurche’s photos are simply delightful compositions. I enjoyed his mix of green and gold ferns on page 71, the frosted grasses near mist-covered Reflection Lake on page 54, and the sheer enormity of the Emmons Glacier on page 15. I wish I could walk along those trails right now. You come, too, as Robert Frost said. Alas, a picture book might be the next best thing.

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