As perhaps many locals here in the Greater Seattle area know that the “mountain highway” (Rte 7) to Mount Rainier National Park is closed in one particular stretch of road until the fall, I think it is important to get the word out to all those who may be planning a trip to the park this summer. Be aware that there is a detour along the highway near the town of Eatonville that will add a bit of time to the road trip (about twenty minutes).
There…now that I have that bit of news out of the way, I want to talk about one of those great, little tourist spots along the road to Mount Rainier National Park. I have mentioned it before months ago, but thought it would be worth mentioning again, this time with photos. By the way, there is still 3 feet of snow in the Paradise area of the park, making this one of the top three latest melt-out times in a few decades. Last year’s mid August melt-out was the latest in almost three decades. This year’s melt-out is on schedule for the first week in August. So…trail hikers…hang in there! There are other places in the mountains to trail for the time being. But, if you aren’t into trail hiking and just want to enjoy the presence of “the mountain,” be sure to make a stop along the road to the park at a private collection of fantastic iron sculptures and drift wood art. You won’t see a big sign. Just look for the tall, rusted iron giraffe near the side of the road, about 3 miles past the town of Elbe. You will see, though, a big, yellow smiley sign (a bit faded) at the entrance to the driveway. (If you are traveling at 55 mph like most drivers through the area, you can easily miss it.) The owner and artist of this unique, outdoor gallery is Dan Klennert. Stop by to say hello and to check out his awesome pieces of iron and driftwood sculptures. His artwork is so impressive that even Disney studios took an interest in his work. Here are a few of my own photos of his artwork. There’s lots more to enjoy in person!
All images property of Peggy A Thompson