Hiking at Mount Rainier

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On Saturday Ben and I went hiking at Mount Rainier with some friends. The scenery was like a postcard: wildflowers in bloom, the snow melting but ever present; the sky a clear, intense blue.

I learned a lot from my hiking buddies about the wildflowers, and the Paradise Visitor’s Center has a nice flyer to help identify them. I think it gave me a little taste of what John Muir meant when he referred to Mount Rainier’s meadows as “the most luxurious and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens [he] ever beheld in all [his] mountain-top ramblings.”

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IMG_6648^This color of paintbrush wildflower only grows at Mount Rainier^

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IMG_6680^Our group looking ahead to Camp Muir, which Ben and I really hope to hike to sometime soon! Camp Muir is the “base camp” for summitting Mount Rainier.^

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You know it’s a good weather day in Seattle when “the mountain is out,” meaning Mount Rainier is visible in the skyline. The fact that you can only see the mountain from the city a handful of days in the year adds to the enchantment of being at the base of this hide-and-seek giant landmark; when you can see the mountain from Seattle it’s large and looming in the sky, dominating the skyline.

The beauty of the mountain and the surrounding scenery kind of wraps itself around your heart—it’s impossible to visit and not be in awe.

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P.S. Last time we had a chance to drive up to Mount Rainier it looked like this. We were at the same spot as the photos in this summertime post, if you can believe the change in the weather 🙂

Snowshoeing at Mt. Rainier

We went snowshoeing at Mt. Rainier two weekends ago and it was amazing; they call that visitor’s center Paradise for a reason. (It’s just as breathtaking on a clear day in the summer.)

There was no snow on the roads when we drove up but it was snowing pretty hard once we got there. We tromped around the mountain for about an hour, stopping a LOT to take pictures. I couldn’t help myself with the camera…I was like a kid in a candy store with all that snow!

^We didn’t expect the jumping photo to turn out but it is pretty good^

^I even made a video of the snow for your enjoyment! ^

The roads can get dicey in the mountains so I’m glad we made this trip when we did. I would 100% recommend this if you’re in the Seattle area in early-mid November with a day to spare. Mount Rainier tweets the current road conditions: @MountRainierNPS, and REI in downtown Seattle rents snowshoes too if you don’t have your own.

I should mention, as a sort of disclaimer, that we couldn’t see Mount Rainier at all even though it was hovering right above us. The heavy snow and fog hid it completely. I’ve learned not the expect to see THE mountain so I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m already looking forward to when Ben and I can return for more snowshoeing at Mount Rainier National Park!

Mount Rainier

Ben and I headed up to Mount Rainier last weekend to complete one of our summer goals—camping in all three of the national parks near us. I will say before I continue that we did know the weather would be questionable but we decided to go for it anyway! …and it rained. The mountain was covered in fog most of the time. But it was still kind of awesome.

We hadn’t reserved a backcountry campsite ahead of time (Rainier opens them up way in advance and we just weren’t on top of it) so we ended up at Sunrise camp, and the ranger recommended a few different day hikes we could do from the camp. Sunrise camp is only a mile in from the visitors center so we headed in, set up our tent, dropped off a lot of our gear and hiked up to the Burroughs Mountain Trail.

^Oops 🙂 ^

Though we had a few beautiful moments when the fog blew over it was frustrating because the mountain was SO CLOSE and at times we could hardly tell it was there at all. We put Burroughs Mountain Trail on our “day hike” list to return sometime.

^foggy morning on the lake at camp^

We headed back to Seattle after waking up in a soggy forest. (There is a rumor floating that I woke up at 4:30 am and told Ben the rain was “bears throwing berries at our tent” that I unfortunately can’t deny because I remember it—don’t you think that makes sense?) We enjoyed the cool temperatures, hot cocoa at camp, and the few moments of beautiful scenery.

I’ve also really enjoyed trying to dry out a muddy, dirty tent in our tiny apartment. Any tips on that?

Mt. Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier National Park

The next stop on our trip to the Pacific Northwest was Mt. Rainier National Park, a little over 2 hours outside of Seattle.

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Skyline Trail

One thing I did on this trip was call ahead to the different National Park offices to get suggestions from the rangers about what trail they would hike if they only had a day to spend in the park (since that was our situation). We have a guidebook, and of course the internet is a great resource for things to do at the National Parks, but sometimes it can be so helpful to actually talk to someone and be able to ask specific questions. The beautiful Skyline Trail was scenic the whole way—a great recommendation! We probably added an extra hour to our hiking time because of stopping to take so many pictures 🙂

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Mount Rainier | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

 

The wildflowers and snow-capped mountain hovering above us the whole time made the day postcard-perfect at every turn.