A visit to Seattle is not complete without a trip to Mt. Rainier.
It does take a whole day to visit, though. Yes, it looks like it’s just around the corner, but it’s about a 2 hr. drive, just sayin’. 😉
We picked a sunny day to make the trek. It was actually VERY cloudy in Seattle, but little did we know that you could drive ABOVE the clouds to get to sunny skies! (neat idea to think about when you are having a “cloudy” sort of emotional day)
We drove through the switch-back roads climbing to Paradise, which offers a fantastic visitor center and excellent view of Mt. Rainier. There are also several hiking trails leading from there. We didn’t realize though, that they are all paved with snow! I’m sure there are a couple months where they are not white, but only a couple I hear. We were unprepared, but ventured forth anyway.
Our bellies were full with Mountain Meals we’d warmed up just right outside the visitor center. I don’t think we were really supposed to cook there, but the sitting ledge provided just enough space to heat up our snow peak and eat our grub while our kids kept throwing snowballs at each other!
The snowballs didn’t stop all the way up the trail either. The kids were in heaven. I really think they were meant to be born in the north.
They’d lie in it, make snow angels, run through it, jump in as deep as they could, roll around on it, and skid on it on the trail. They were giggle happy the whole time!!
Since we headed out in the late afternoon, we really didn’t have much time to make it too high, but we had amazing views the whole time. We stopped at a “rock island” as Gabe called it – a big rock in the middle of white snow. Don warmed up hot chocolate and apple cider for us all. We spotted a black fox just making its way from one rock to the woods. Gorgeous contrast to the white backdrop.
There’s something VERY special about being on a mountain trail all alone. It feels like the entire place is your home. Like the mountain and trees are your wallpaper. I can tell that the kids feel the same. We don’t take for granted our private evening hikes. What a privilege. When possible, Don and I also just enjoy connecting alone as the kids go off and explore or play. On long trips like this adventure, we protect as many couple-times as we can!
None of us like to hear, “Okay, it’s time to start heading back down.” But eventually it’s inevitable, so we do. For this particular hike, we got to enjoy a colorful sunset the whole way down, with gorgeous 360 views, which made our farewell a bit sweeter. We got back to the car in the dark, pulled off our wet socks and shoes, and picked up some drive-thru food in our bare feet on our way home! Next visit, Don and I want to make it to the top on our own…probably in the summer!