Mount Rainier, Washington

August 3rd

Entrance gate to Mount Rainier National Park

Sissy posing for a pic at Box Canyon overlook

Is this really ´The Old Man in the Mountain?´ Yup, sure is ... John posing for a pic near Stevens Creek enroute to Paradise Lodge

Sissy thought a pic with snow would cool off some of the folks back home. Snow melting into a small creek

Our photos of Mount Rainier wouldn´t be complete without a gorgeous pic of the mountain all by itself

We thought we´d made a big mistake by staying an extra day to visit Mount Rainier. Up at the crack of dawn to get an early start, John looked out the door and discovered we were socked in with fog. It was hard seeing the truck parked in front of the trailer, and the Silver Springs Resort building at the bottom of the hill was nowhere to be seen. We had our coffee, took showers and got dressed anyway because the mountain was about 2 hours away and maybe, just maybe the weather would clear up. Sure enough, by the time we hit exit 68 off I5 heading in the direction of the mountain, the sun came out and the fog began burning off. And, when we reached the entrance gate to Mount Rainier National Park, the temperature was in the low 70´s and clouds were almost non-existent.

From left to right: Nisqually, Cowlitz & Ingraham Glaciers up close

As we drove up, up and up some more John could tell Sissy was getting a little anxious (she doesn´t like mountain driving), but she did fine. Clutching the seat arm rest on one side and the door handle on the other, Sissy got awful quite until John abruptly pulled off the side of the road to take a pic. Sissy didn´t move! She simply made a loud sound like a vacuum cleaner hose sucking up a tennis ball, and her heart began racing about 150 beats per minute. Ok, Ok, Ok (as Joe Peche would say) John agreed to not do that again.

Driving up the mountain through the Douglas-firs, past the many waterfalls created by melting snow, over the canyons and even along Reflection Lakes was fabulous. We didn´t get any reflection pics though because the wind was causing a ripple just large enough to distort the mountain. We did however, take about 70 pics of the beautiful scenery throughout the park. Sissy even snapped one of a doe running down the mountain after being scared off by a tourist´s dog.

One of the many melting snow falls throughout the park

We met a very nice and informative tour guide while at Paradise Lodge. He was on a break while his tourists (active duty military personnel from the Seattle area) were inside the lodge. He narrated a little history of the park and gave us hints on what to look for and where to drive during our visit. He even pointed out a waterfall on an adjacent mountain side that we´d completely missed while taking pics, and the waterfall was staring us right in the eyes all along.

It was then time for lunch, so after enjoying the sights at the lodge we claimed one of the many cedar picnic tables and broke out our viddles (left overs from the night before). Peaceful and comfortable; the air saturated with pine smell; sun shining; breeze rustling the trees just enough was the setting as we took our time eating and enjoying the serenity. Most people headed for the lodge with its full-to-capacity parking lot, but we found the sign directing us to the picnic area. Parking there was not a problem at all, and the restrooms were clean and nearby.

Paradise Lodge

After lunch, it was time to start heading back taking the route given to us by the guide. The one-way road was fabulous and very few people knew about it so traffic was light. Most people turned around at the lodge and headed back the way they had arrived, but we were able to get another perspective of the surrounding scenery.

John took his time driving because Sissy had warned him already. The drive down the mountain was surprisingly smooth even though we passed a couple of land slides along the way. Park Rangers had apparently removed debris from the roadway before our arrival, but the slide debris was still evident. Stopping several times on our way down for pics, and then it was time to exit the park and head back to our campsite. Sissy was getting a little sleepy (must´ve been the altitude) so she dozed off while John quietly drove through the countryside toward I5.

Driving through mountain tunnels gave us a sense of security ... we didn´t have to look over the edge of the roadway

We´d planned on going fishing for salmon in the Cowlitz River upon our return, but decided instead to do some chores like laundry which hadn´t been done in a week. The next few days were going to be busy in the Seattle area, so we didn´t want to take time out then.

With the good always comes some bad ... right? Yup! We put our clothes in the washing machines at the resort laundry and discovered the water pressure was gone. This was after putting the bleach and detergent in. Somebody had run over a water pipe in the campground and broken the pipe. Chuck (the handyman guy) had another emergency on his hands and had to handle that first. Apparently, 2 boaters were in distress on the lake with the rental boats (remember our fishing trip the day before)? Upon Chuck´s return, he was able to repair the pipe and we were able to finish laundry. Not before however, the bleach had eaten a pair of Sissy´s socks and 2 pair of her underwear!

Then, it was time for some socializing before dinner with Kelly (from Alaska), Gordy and Sandra (from Toulett) and Linda (the resort host). Dinner was outstanding! Sissy reheated the lasagna she´d made a while before, and it tasted as good the second time as it did the first. Kelly (we´d invited him to join us for dinner) promptly dropped his plate of food on the carpet shortly after being served (it must´ve been too much socializing), so he didn´t have as much. But, he left soon thereafter, and we´re sure his wife fed him something else when he arrived back at his in-laws home.

Well anyway, so much for this day´s adventures! It was time for some shut eye, and then onto the Seattle area in the morning with visits with Kyrra (Sissy´s longtime friend) as well as Barry and his wife Mary (John´s friend and former co-worker).

John & Sissy EXCLUSIVE RATINGS: (1 bad - good 10)

  • Campground - N/A
  • People - 10
  • Roads - 10
  • Scenery - 10
  • Traffic - 10
  • Things to Do - 10
  • Weather - 10

Next page in chronological order

All photographs are Copyright @ 2002 - 2008 by John T. VanderHeiden.
For information concerning your usage of any photographs, please see our User Agreement.