Stunning wildflowers, views atop Rattlesnake

RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN, Wash. -- It was a rare and beautiful sight. For the first time in six-years, the public was allowed up on Rattlesnake Mountain. Less than 100 people are being allowed to make the trip to the summit.

From Cushion Daisy to Cusick's Sunflower to Sulfer Lupine. Flowers all blooming atop Rattlesnake Mountain. Eighty lucky people secured seats on the wildflower tour. It was organized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

Guides started with the brush and native grasses at the base.
Wildfires have scoured the earth over the years. Restoring health meant replanting native growth.

And when flowers like Carey's Balsamroot bloom at the bottom of the mountain, the colors are bright and bold. The fragrance sweet and pungent.

One last look and it was off to the top of the mountain. The first time in six years the public has made the trip. It was like finding a golden ticket in a Wonka bar.

Donna Hostick is an amateur photographer, "I take pictures of this mountain all the time and so to be up here is really, really, exciting."

Her favorite subject is flowers. For her, the smaller the better. Like a Thyme-leaf buckwheat.

The tour features much more than wildflowers on Rattlesnake Mountain. From the summit you have a clear view to Mount Rainer and Mount Adams over to this side. The tour also spotted a herd of elk.

Monument manager Larry Klimek said, "It's just seeing the looks on people's faces and their amazement and wonder of what is up here and be able to see the uniqueness of the area."

Making this experience truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Visitor Donna Hostick said, "I don't know that I would try to do it again because I'd like someone else to have the opportunity."

Two other tours will get the opportunity this Saturday. U.S. Fish and Wildlife hopes to offer another round of tours in the fall.

Rattlesnake Mountain is normally closed to public access.