Tag Archive | Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier Snowshoeing 2019

In February, Paula and I did a repeat of our snowshoe weekend.  We spent two nights at Mount Rainier over the President’s Day holiday.  It was glorious!

Last year, the road up to Paradise was closed the entire time we were there, due to avalanche danger and rain.  This year, we were able to drive up to Paradise and snowshoe up there!  We got up early and headed up early, driving up just after the road opened.  We were the first ones out on most of the snowshoe trail, and had the opportunity to snowshoe through fresh, unbroken snow!

That morning, we hiked out under a partly cloudy sky, with a spectacular view of Mount Rainier!  It was so beautiful!  We took lots of photos and selfies, because when you grow up around mountains, you know that the mountain isn’t always out, and you take advantage of the view when you can get it.  I love seeing this view!

We snowshoed out a bit further in the fresh snow, and on our way back noticed that Mount Rainier was now obscured by the clouds.  We were lucky to have gotten out there when we did – there is a benefit to being the early bird!

That afternoon, we snowshoed around the Trail of the Shadows, an easy 1 mile flat loop trail. I love it because it takes you by an old turn of the century cabin, originally built by the Longmire family, as well as remnants of the old mineral baths – they were advertised as having healing properties, if you could stand to soak in the sulfur smelling waters.

We renewed our ritual of sitting on the porch to drink spiked hot chocolate and wine, and also had a good time working on a new puzzle in the game room and making new friends.  We had grass-fed burgers and blackberry cobbler.  Both were to die for!

We were sitting on the porch just after they closed the gate to Paradise at 6 pm, and Paula spotted a critter making his way near the road.  We watched him trot across the road and realized it was a fox!  It was too dark and we were too far away for photos, but he was so adorably cute from afar!  This may be the first time I’ve ever seen a fox in the wild too!  Our room this year overlooked the road in the front of the hotel – it is so pretty there!

I certainly hope that we continue this tradition, either just the two of us or with other friends as well!  It was so much fun!

President’s Day Weekend 2018: One More Snowshoe

Our last day at Mount Rainier, Paula and I had another great breakfast at the National Park Inn, and then we got our bags packed up and put in the car.  We had time for one more snowshoe before we had to head home…

We decided to do the trail that heads up toward Cougar Campground.  This hike is more of a hill and after hiking up part of the Rampart Ridge Trail the day before, Paula felt she was ready for snowshoeing uphill.  The road to Paradise had reopened, so we could see the cars driving by on the road.  The hike winds along between the road and the river; at times you can see the river.

It is such a pretty hike in the snow!  We even saw a Woodpecker!  We went a few miles up, and then had to turn around to come back to the Inn and our car.

It was a fantastic weekend – Paula and I both had so much fun!  I always love a good combination of hiking and relaxing, and this was a perfect girl’s getaway!  We want to do it again next year!

 

President’s Day Weekend 2018: Snowshoe Day!

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.

Paula and me snowshoeing

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!

My car – day 2

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President’s Day Weekend 2018: Rain and Wine

My friend Paula texted me in early February, from the Oregon Coast.  She had had a hard week, as had I.  We talked about life and love and disappointments and new beginnings.  We talked about meeting for a girl’s weekend on President’s Day weekend.  At the time, I was on the computer, so I looked up the National Park Inn at Mount Rainier.  They had one room left – so I asked Paula if she wanted to go snowshoeing!  It was meant to be!!!

As I am sure you guessed, she of course said yes, so a few weekends later, we were making our way to the Inn for the long weekend.  We met outside the park at a friend’s house so we only had to take my car (hers is not suitable for snow).  Driving in, we were both in awe of the scenery, as the wooded lowlands give way to snow.  She had never been to Rainier, and made jokes about how I was taking her to a remote location so I could murder her where the body would never be found…  I have the best, more morbid friends!

When we got up to the Inn, we were able to check in early.  It was raining, and I figured Paula would never want to snowshoe again if I took her out for the first time in that wet slog, so we joined a Ranger tour on the history of Mount Rainier National Park.  It was supposed to be a ranger guided snowshoe but they decided not to go out in the pouring rain either.  Our ranger gave a wonderful talk!

After the talk Paula and I did what any self-respecting young women on a relaxing vacation at a mountain lodge would do.  We got all bundled up for the cold, and filled up wine glasses, and found a couple of chairs on the front porch to hang out, drinking and people watching.  We stayed outside several hours, and yeah, we got tipsy.

Eventually the rain gave way to snow, and we loved watching a trio of guys in their thirties going all out posing in the snow.  They were hilarious!  They were taking off their jackets to pose in just their t-shirts, flexing their muscles, putting their sunglasses on and taking them off.  I swear we thought we were going to see them do the duck lips!

The Inn at night

Once it got dark we went inside to the restaurant for dinner – it was amazing – and then went into the game room and played backgammon and worked on a puzzle.  We had such a good time!  Even though our plan was to snowshoe that day, we still had such a great day!

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 8

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

Rainier-River

Snowy River, Mount Rainier National Park, Girl’s Weekend, February 2018

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 7

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

 

 

Wine on the porch of the National Park Inn, Girl’s Weekend, Mount Rainier, February 2018

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 6

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

National Park Inn, Girl’s Weekend, Mount Rainier, February 2018

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 3

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

In no particular order…

Snowshoeing, Longmire Cabin, Girl’s Weekend, Mount Rainier, February 2018

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 1

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming.  So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

In no particular order…

Hot Chocolate (with secret liquor), Girl’s Weekend, Mount Rainier, February 2018

Mount Rainier 2015: Rampart Ridge Trail

One thing that isn’t in short supply at Mount Rainier National Park is beautiful hikes!  And we were able to experience a fantastic day of hiking!

Our Sunday at Mount Rainier National Park was spent on a couple of hikes – one short and easy, and one long and hard. We first hiked the Trail of the Shadows, a short, flat hike right across the street from the National Park Inn. We saw old growth forest, the mineral springs that James Longmire spent his time marketing to tourists, and a few of the 100 year old structures built around the springs, now in ruins.

The Mineral Springs don't look like much now, but they are still bubbling!

The Mineral Springs don’t look like much now, but they are still bubbling!

The springs at some points just bubble from the ground – it is fascinating to see! We also saw Elcaine Longmire’s (James Longmire’s son) cabin near the springs, built in 1888. It was neat to see how small and dark it was – I can’t imagine living in such a small, dark place all winter long!

This is the 1888 cabin of Elcaine Longmire, one of James Longmire's sons

This is the 1888 cabin of Elcaine Longmire, one of James Longmire’s sons

Then we began the Rampart Ridge Trail. It begins with several switchbacks that take you up high onto a ridge – the elevation gain is about 1300’. The hiking on the switchbacks is still pretty steep at times; I definitely had to stop and rest several times on the way up. While hiking this section, which was about 1.6 miles, we were treated to beautiful and peaceful old growth forest. Once we got to the top, we were greeted with a neat bird’s eye view of the Longmire Historic District and the National Park Inn!

The switchbacks up the mountain on the Rampart Ridge hike

The switchbacks up the mountain on the Rampart Ridge hike

 

Looking down (on super-zoom) at the National Park Inn from Rampart Ridge

Looking down (on super-zoom) at the National Park Inn from Rampart Ridge

The hike then led us for a while along the top of the ridge. We got a fantastic view of the mountain at one point, and then began heading back down to the valley floor. We didn’t see any bears (maybe that’s a good thing, but it would have been awesome to see one at a safe distance!), but we did see deer. And we heard the alarm call of a marmot, but sadly didn’t see him. The entire hike is 4.6, 4.9, or 5.0 miles, depending on which combination of signs and park materials you believe – I’m going with 5.0!  We figure with adding the Trail of the Shadow spur we were probably close to 6 miles.

Me with Mount Rainier on Rampart Ridge

Me with Mount Rainier on Rampart Ridge

 

A small waterfall on the Rampart Ridge hike

A small waterfall on the Rampart Ridge hike

Once we got back to the National Park Inn, we were more than ready for a late lunch. We both had grass fed burgers with pretzel buns on the front porch of the Inn; and we split a soda and a beer. The beef just melted in our mouths, and the buns were to die for!

 

My delicious grass fed burger at the National Park Inn, after our Rampart Ridge hike

My delicious grass fed burger at the National Park Inn, after our Rampart Ridge hike

We relaxed in the chairs on the front porch, enjoying the fantastic view of this amazing mountain before resigning ourselves to the long, drive home. We loved our weekend trip, and have warm memories of our first visit to Mount Rainier!

Have you hiked Trail of the Shadows or Rampart Ridge at Mount Rainier?  What was your favorite part?