It was a fairly quick, smooth drive to Mount Rainier.
I got into the National Park, drove to Cougar Rock Campground and picked a site that was open for the night. These campgrounds were very nicely organized and had a leveled area for a tent where I could access everything I needed including the fire-pit. I made my first fire by myself (yes, I’m proud). It was a weird concept that at 10 pm it is dark, but when you look up the sky is still light. You don’t have that feeling in Southern California. The following morning I packed up camp and got ready to see and explore Mount Rainier National Park.
Sleeping outdoors has definitely changed my sleeping patterns, I have been waking up earlier and easier! That being said the Visitor’s Center didn’t open until ten. Luckily the Paradise Inn was open, so I got some breakfast and a Junior Ranger booklet to start filling out what I already knew.
In 1899, Mount Rainier National Park was established as the 5th US National Park. The 236,00+ acres include the highest peak in the Cascade Range, valleys, waterfalls, subalpine meadows, old growth forests and glaciers. The park, itself, was designated a National Historic Landmark in the 1990’s, mainly for the design and preservation of the architecture.
One of the 42 historic locations within the park is The Paradise Inn, built in 1916. In 1919, it was (and still is) furnished by the decorative woodwork of Hans Frahnke, a German carpenter, including cedar thrones and tables, a rustic piano, and an ornate grandfather clock.
- Highest mountain of the Cascade Range
- Last eruption 1894
- One of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world
- Smog often obscures the views of Mount Rainier from Paradise
- I was lucky and did not have this issue
- 25 glaciers are presently on Mount Rainier
- Lahars are mudflows or debris flows which would result from an eruption due to the amount of glaciers
- Lahars can go for miles and have resulted in devastation
- They could cause havoc as far as Seattle
PEOPLE I MET:
I met Timothy on his 60th birthday. He really wanted to make a snow angel on his birthday, so he was spending a couple days in the National Park. We talked for a long while about both our lives, my trip, his birthday and much more. Timothy is a counselor for his church and definitely had a lot of good advice to give me. Happy Birthday Timothy!! I hope it was a great day!
Tom & Karen W
Tom and Karen, from Tacoma, took a picture for me (selfies never turn out that great) and helped with some settings on my camera. Karen also liked my hiking boots and took a picture of them 🙂
Don & Jane K
Don and Jane are from Cincinnati. We talked a lot about family, how important it is to find the right person and how the right person for you, will also be the right person for your family. One of her daughters had gone through a similar relationship as I did and was in the finding herself and her family again stage. It was a pleasure talking and getting some reassurance that this trip is a great experience.
When the Visitor’s Center opened, I went in to watch the first showing of the educational film, that is where I met Timothy. I didn’t realize this at the time, but I guess that often when people go to see Mt. Rainier, there is a thick layer of smog that results in not being able to see the mountain. I lucked out because not only was there no smog but it was a BEAUTIFUL day.
After Timothy and I parted ways, I got my Jr. Ranger badge and started to head down the mountain with a few stops along the way.
Two of my stops were Christine Falls, where I met Tom & Karen, and Carter Falls where I met Don & Jane.
Carter Falls was a hike (well for me LOL). During the first part of the hike, I went across large rocks to a log bridge that went over a river. It is really strange but the colors of the water can vary drastically. This river had cloudy, tan-ish colored water.
After crossing the bridge and going up a few more rocks, I started to get more into the trees and forested area. The trail zigzagged upwards following another river, whose water was very different and crystal clear.
Eventually Don and Jane caught up to me, lets say it was because I was stopping to take pictures, not because I was so exhausted walking uphill :). We finally made it to the top where the falls were and it was gorgeous! The amount of water that comes out of these waterfalls is shocking, and the sounds are so peaceful.
My next stop was SeaTac to pick up my dad to join me on a little part of my journey 🙂 <3
NEXT TIME at Mount Rainier: I hope to go a little later in the summer so that a few of the trails closer to the Visitor’s Center would be open (closed due to snow).
To see all the pictures from Mount Rainier (and the rest from Part 1) CLICK HERE. If you want to get email updates on blog posts, please subscribe at the top of any page on the right side, or towards the bottom if you are on a mobile phone :).