The second day of our trip, we had an amazing breakfast, which was included in our room price. Then we headed out to for our first weekend snowshoe. I showed Paula how to put her snowshoes on – it took a little doing, but soon we were on our way.
We hiked the Trail of the Shadows for our first hike, which is a fairly short, level loop hike directly across from the National Park Inn. I have always liked this hike, because it takes you past the cabin of Elcaine Longmire, the son of James Longmire, who first established Mount Rainier as a tourist destination by touting the hot springs in the area as medicinal (they weren’t). There are also some ruins of the structures built around the springs for use by the tourists.
The Trail of the Shadows also has some amazing old growth forest, with giant Western Red Cedars and other trees that have lived in this forest for hundreds of years.
Towards the end of the loop, we decided to hike up the hill for a bit on the Rampart Ridge Trail. We knew we weren’t going to do the whole trail, but we hiked up the hill for a while and rested when needed. Paula had a great time, and I was so happy to have a new snowshoeing friend!
We went back to the lodge and had a lunch from the cooler we had brought with meats and cheeses. While we were eating, the power went out, and then came back on. We learned later that they had switched us over to a generator after the power went out, because a tree had come down over the road leading into the park. No one was getting in or out for several hours, which meant we had a really quiet afternoon!
After lunch, we hiked over the bridge near the Inn to go check out the river and a few historic structures on the other side. The Longmire Wooden Truss Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge that was built in 1924. You can drive across it too, but it doesn’t lead anywhere for cars on the other side of the bridge. The snow was coming down, and it was so beautiful! There is really nothing like the peace of a lightly falling snow – the sounds are muffled, and it just makes me happy to see the landscape covered in white.
We came back to the Inn and got hot chocolate (we may have added a little homemade liqueur) and sat on the porch for a bit, enjoying the afternoon. We had a late lunch in the restaurant (lunch there is cheaper than dinner), and were able to skip dinner because lunch was so filling! I had a burger and fries.
Our evening was spent drinking wine, playing games and socializing in the game room. It is nice that not having cell service, phone or TV encourages people to come together and actually talk! There were several nice people at the Inn that weekend, and we had a chance to hear their stories. We even talked about all coming back the same weekend next year! It was a great end to another really good day.