Early summertime's cold meltwater rushes down a little creek's crevice on the side of Mt. Rainier, the highest and most thickly ice covered of the Cascade volcanoes. Standing over 14,000 feet high into the moist Pacific winds, Rainier lifts out an immense amount of moisture, and by doing so, contributes to its own eventual downfall. Though this water might seem clean on first glance, it actually contains a good deal of rock flour and ash, eroded away by washing action and by scraping of glacial ice high above. The dark specks at upper right are small pieces of gravel tumbling through the torrent. Bit by bit, grain by grain and all around the big mountain, such forces are working to tear it down -- and are succeeding. As newer, feistier volcanoes such as St. Helens rumble skyward in eruptive fits and spurts, old Rainier will continue to settle down and give way to geologic extinction, then topographic erosion, then ultimate extermination.
5 NE Longmire WA (10 Jul 6) Looking NW