Miles: 9459Mt. Rainier, FINALLY!
After our trip to Mt. St. Helens, we decided to head to the mountain which had thwarted us nearly a year earlier, Rainier.
During our trip to Seattle, we had seen Rainier only from afar, as every time we got close to it, it shrouded itself in mist. We had thought that it was majestic when viewed from far away, but up close it's really sort of mind boggling and intimidating. We drove up the main road through the park, stopping to walk across a log bridge that spanned a raging river and check out some waterfalls. We had hit very few crowds at St. Helens because it was early, and Mt. Rainier wasn't very crowded because it was fairly late in the day by the time we got there. We drove along and took in the views of the peak and its glaciers and the surrounding forest and made it to Paradise. One of the signs in the visitor center explained that many people think Rainier is so intriguing is that it is accessible from all sides. It's not a range that has pockets that are covered, but rather a single bohemoth that inspires a sense of intimacy. We had to agree.
Signs at the entrance had claimed that the parking lots for Paradise were full, but this was not true. We parked just fine and went on a hike to view the glaciers and the headwaters of the same river we had walked over earlier in the day. It was pretty amazing to see and we walked in awe. We also saw a pretty little deer munching on the tender wildflowers we were admonished to avoid. Silly deer.
After completing our loop through the pretty, we headed for our campsite right outside the park and had dinner before settling in for some Perseids watching. Sadly, it wasn't as dark in this part of the country as it had been in Idaho, but we still saw 15 meteors in the hour or so we stayed awake to watch.