Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mount Rainier

I can't say enough wonderful things about Mount Rainier National Park.

We had mostly bad weather for the majority of our time there. I was really disappointed, as the views I had been promised on the internet and in travel books were spectacular. The forecast was for great weather to appear on the day we were to leave. After talking things over with Carl, we decided to stay longer on our departure day, wake up early, and get a good 3-4  hours of sunlight views in before heading back to Oregon. Soooo glad we did it, because the views were, in a word, incomparable.

We loved our rental house in Ashford. The proximity to the park, the space, the hot tub, the decks, the back yard. Heaven.

There's a mountain beyond those trees, but who would know it?

The Nisqually River was raging out of control - I've never seen anything move that fast before. One of the rangers told me that when it rains, the river becomes a real force of nature. No kidding.

It was a beautiful location, and a fun hike down from the road, even if we were freezing. (Almost literally... it was 42F degrees).

This bridge was so cool, and the boys wanted nothing more than to cross it. But without a second railing, and on a rainy, slippery day? No way, jose.

As it was, I'm amazed I remained calm enough to take the pictures, as my safety side was screaming out of control.

With the bad weather, we were still able to see several of the beautiful waterfalls Mount Rainier has.

Narada Falls was incredible. It was a close contender for my favorite, although it was a long, steep hike down to the base of the waterfalls, and then once you are there, the spray from the falls was like Niagra Falls-intense. Which might have been welcome on a different day, but we were cold this day.

Here was a view of Narada form the top of the waterfall.

And mid-way down.

And at the end.

This photo shows the slick path we hiked down to get to the base of the waterfall to the left, and it also offered us our first glimpse of the mountain. The sky was thinking of clearing up a little bit, and would tease us with periodic views of parts of the mountain.

This waterfall we spotted off the road while we were driving back from Paradise (an area of the park where the visitor center is located).

We saw so many waterfalls in Mount Rainier, I can't even list them all.

Ryan was really fond of looking for them, and wanted his picture with all of them.

No matter how small they were.

We especially loved the still-frozen waterfalls.

And when we would just find big patches of snow that hadn't melted yet.

Bonus points for big patches of snow WITH multiple small waterfalls in the background.

And what is the fun of Texans finding snow in July without a snowball fight?

But my favorite waterfall was Christine Falls.

It was a double decker waterfall, which you could see from both sides of the main road.

And it looks completely different, depending on which side (and height) you are standing on.

In my opinion, the view is definitely the best when you climb down a bit to get the full effect of its beauty, with the bridge you drive on.

So glad we climbed down!

Now, contrast our first experience with the park's view on Thursday ...

With what we woke up to on Friday...

Sooooooo glad we re-arranged our schedule to give us this morning in sunny Mount Rainier!

Just driving through the trees, and seeing the sunlight shining through, we knew we were in store for something magical.

And it was.

Remember how Ryan was all excited about spotting waterfalls the day before? Well, today, it was all about the mountain views. He was even more into yelling "Mountain!" every time we would actually see a bit of the mountain. I love this child... Here was our first big glimpse of the mountain.

We were somewhere around 5000 feet elevation here - still a bit until we got to our hiking spot for the day.


These are all so beautiful, I'm just going to let the pictures stand for themselves.

They don't call this "Paradise" for nothing...

More about this Trip:

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