“Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
― Hans Christian Andersen
Entering the Mount Rainier National Park from Hwy 410 you will find two hiking trails, Tipsoo Lake and Naches Peak Loop Trail. These trails not only have the most fantastic views of Mt. Rainier, but also will bring you into a wildflower paradise from the end of July through September.
The meadows are dotted with Indian Paintbrush, Red Columbine, Western Pasque flower, Bear Grass, Asters, Pearly Everlasting, Cow Parsnip, Lupine, False Hellebore and many more.
Since fall is beginning many of these flowers have turned to seed. The Western Pasque Flower should still be waving it's feathery seed head.
Don't overlook this spectacular hike in the Autumn months. The Western Larch (Larix occidentalis) and Lyall Larch (Larix lyallii), the deciduous conifers in the area will be turning into their beautiful golden fall color.
Go enjoy the beauty of the Northwest. I'll be posting fall hike colors soon.
"The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness."
-   John Muir

It always amazes me the little mysteries you come upon when roaming the woods. From beautiful wild flowers to secret waterfalls, every walk will lead you to a new discovery. On Saturday the family took a hiking adventure to a beautiful forest creek. 
When we arrived to our destination the trees open up to a carpet of stunning greenery. This spreading ground cover had large deep green leaves that divided into three leaflets. I had no idea what type of plant it was, but it struck my interest.
When I got home I couldn’t wait to do some plant ID research.  I dove into my plant nerd gear and discovered it was the Vanilla Leaf Plant (Achlys triphylla) an amazingly useful plant.  It’s named because of its sweet vanilla scent when the leaves are dried.
Here is a list of common uses I found on the web:

  • Native Americans used the plant to treat tuberculosis, cataracts and for a hair wash (Wildflowers Institute)