Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin
This month, let me present to you the new quarter, which honors the state of Washington. Its design includes a salmon and a mountain. Now, I could say a lot about salmon, but it would probably just make me hungry. So let's talk about the mountain instead: Mount Rainier!
Mount Rainier is easy to see from most of the state because it's both high (over 14,000 feet) and near the center of the state. Every year, thousands climb the mountain (the highest in the Cascade Range), but only half make it to the top.
What's at the top? A cone of hardened lava with two overlapping craters. The shallow floors of these craters are covered with snow and ice. A hot mist has melted a maze of caves into the base of the ice.
Mount Rainier, a volcano, is inside a large national park. During the summer, Mount Rainier's meadows grow an amazing rainbow of wildflowers. Mount Rainier hasn't erupted in more than 120 years, but that's just a moment in volcano time. During those 120 years, many people have made Washington their home, so it's important to keep a close eye on this volcano and the glaciers that cover its flanks.
In the meantime, sliding down glaciers on your belly is fun! ...Well, at least if you're a seal!