Day 6 – Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains
At the top of everyone’s list was seeing Mount Rainier and finding a good place to hike somewhere in the Cascade Mountains. Seeing Mount Rainier was easy enough but, much to our surprise, finding a hiking trail that wasn’t closed was more difficult than I would have imagined in late May.
We got up and packed some healthy food for snacks and lunch (even though a healthy lunch never happened because someone (me) forgot the bread) and hit the road early. Mount Rainier is a huge stratovolcano (which is a volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash) and it is located about an hour southeast of Seattle. It’s the most topographically prominent mountain in the lower 48 states and considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Sounds like my kind of Wednesday. I could bore you to tears with all the fun information about Mt. Rainier, but instead I’ll just show pictures.
We decided to make our way to Reflection Lakes to take pictures and hike the 3 mile trail. Of course, we saw many photo ops on the way there so we had to stop.
The information that we had found online said that the trail opened in mid-May. Unfortunately, that was not the case this year. Stevens Canyon Road was completely closed off and we found out later that there had been an avalanche (not on the road itself, but apparently near enough to cause concern). We were pretty disappointed, but we decided to just keep driving and find something else, but I am definitely going back one summer so that we can see it. After Reflection Lakes fell through we decided to drive over to the Paradise Visitor Center and got some great snapshots of the mountain. Look at that snow (Cliff is 6’2 for reference)
We walked around the center and checked out the few little exhibits they had inside. The road normally went on past the visitor’s center; however, today it was closed to traffic but they let people walk down it a bit. We walked about a quarter mile just to look around (and climb on top of snow banks without looking like fools to everyone else) and then we head back to the car. One the way to the center we had seen a little pull off and decided to check it out on our way back. It wound up being a huge waterfall! There was a trail that led from Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes, but it was 6 miles one way and I don’t think we’re quite ready for a 12 mile trek across the Cascade Mountains (but we will be one day!)
We continued to drive back towards the base of the mountains when we saw a little sign that said Carter Falls Trailhead. A quick glance at the Google’s said that it would be about perfect for us.
We decided to park and check out the trailhead and when we saw 1.3 miles we decided to go for it.
They left out the part about it being 1.3 miles UP.
However, I will say that the trail was perfect for me because it was through a forest so no sunburn!
I’m having a difficult time describing just how amazing the scenery was (which doesn’t say a lot for me as a blogger does it? Guess it’s good that I write primarily about weight loss!)
When I was bigger I never really appreciated nature. I hated being outside (especially in the summer) because it just meant that I was going to turn into a sweaty, gross mess (even in the winter!) Since I’ve lost a lot of the weight I’ve found myself drawn to the outdoors more. I have been checking out our local park system, I bought tickets to an outdoor concert, and I find myself planning trips to places where we can spent a lot of time outside. A year ago I would have never gotten out of the car to even walk around, let alone walk/hike 3+ miles around a mountain range. Just think…I would have missed all of this:
*Sidenote* I just noticed that I have completely neglected my quotes for quite some time. Just getting a post up some days can be nearly impossible. Anyhow, I feel like I definitely miss the little oomph that they provided to the end, so I’m going to try and get back into the habit of adding one to each post. Feel free to share some of your favorites!
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then craw, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.