‘Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.’-John Muir
After our morning at Mount St. Helens, B and I planned on meeting up again at Mount Rainier National Park, about two and a half hours away. We would not meet each other, ha! I have said this many time before but for the love of god, get an America the Beautiful pass! It took nearly two hours (in the middle of the afternoon) to go a mile because so many people did not have a parks pass. It was beyond annoying. This had a chain reaction. There is not much between the two parks and sitting for that long, I hadn’t eaten and my gas situation was not great. It really limited what I felt comfortable doing within the park. Seeing my MPG drop dramatically as I winded up the mountain…a bit nerve wracking. It turned out okay but something to keep in mind. GET THE PARKS PASS!
As I mentioned in my last post, the drive up to Paradise Inn (the timberline of Rainier), is incredibly green and lush. It is how I imagined Mount St. Helens was prior to its explosion. Doing the drive in one day is quite a stark comparison. Particularly that Rainier is considered an active volcano and ‘the most glaciated peak’ in the lower 48, it drives home that life and the world around you can change so dramatically in an instant.
Paradise Inn is a hotel, visitor center, and access point to a whole host of snow activities…hiking, sledding, skiing. It’s was fun to watch people try knew things mixed in with advanced Alpine climbers preparing their summit pushes.
What remarkable is that you are at the timberline but the summit of Rainier is still thousands of feet above you. This is where I spent much of my time because of gas concerns but also, where I was hoping to meet B. That did not happen. While I had full cell service here (although not at the rest of the park), B never had service. We have different providers (mine is AT&T) so I didn’t realize he never got my messages. The views are pretty stunning and I was starving! The hotel has a restaurant but due to Covid, it was only for guests. There was a cafe and the food was okay but I hadn’t eaten anything since that morning, so overpriced salad it was!
I highly recommend following Mount Rainier’s Instagram for all the latest about the park. As the temperatures climb, there are a lot of dangers (all those glaciers and rivers created because of them). I wouldn’t have been aware of the extremes without their social media. Melting snow can cause some dangerous conditions that are instantaneous. You can also work with members of the park service on excursions. But the park can be unpredictable so be sure you are prepared.
I headed towards Seattle at sunset and would meet B for brunch, so I was able to see him before he headed east. Rainier was stunning and I am excited to explore it more as a Washington resident…with a fuller tank of gas!