Tag Archive | snowshoeing

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!

Year in Review – 2018’s Been Real… Something…

What can be said about 2018?  It was an unforgettable year.

I’m incredibly grateful for my friends and family who care about me, but I also had to do some letting go of people who weren’t the friends I thought they were.

I also had the amazing opportunity to go on a monumental several-month road trip of the United States.  Despite never having traveled alone for more than a week, I packed up my car and set out entirely alone.  I stayed with some friends and family along the way, but the majority of my nights were camping by myself.  Not only did I get to see some of the amazing scenery and history this country has to offer, but I also got to prove to myself that I can travel solo and have a great time in my own company.

And last, but certainly not least, I got over 15,000 annual views on this blog.  My current figure is 15,098, which is more than 1,000 more views than I received last year.  I must be doing something interesting!  Thank you to all of you who read.

Without further ado, here’s the recap:

  1. Paula and I went on a girls’ weekend at Mount Rainier on President’s Day weekend.  We went out on snowshoes, drank wine, did puzzles and had a fabulous weekend of girl bonding.  It was so much fun!

    I was so excited I could do a high ponytail!


  2. My 31 year old horse Biz has been good.  My vet decided to go a conservative route last winter and not pull one of his damaged canine teeth, but instead another one broke; it has since healed.  He is doing well with his remaining three incisor teeth and a daily painkiller.
  3. In March, I did my first 15k Hot Chocolate Run in Seattle with Katy and Katie.  The weather was cold, but the company was good!

    At the Expo


  4. At the end of March, I had the opportunity to join my friend Lelani, her daughter Laura and Laura’s friend Brenna, on a 6 day road trip down to San Francisco and back.  We camped, saw the San Francisco sights, and did some wine tasting in Santa Rosa.

    Me with the Golden Gate Bridge


  5. Paula, Brandon, and Joel and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Walla Walla wine country again.  We did some shopping, soaked up the sun at the pool, and relaxed for a few days.
  6. In June, Oliver went to be with the angels.  His cancer had progressed, and it just wasn’t fair for him anymore.  I still miss him terribly.

    Oliver and I on our last day


  7. Taryn, Brandon, Brent and I took a two week trip to London in late June and early July.  It was my first overseas trip since 2006, and we did and saw so much!

    Taryn and Me with the bow of the Cutty Sark


  8. I left my job in July to fulfill a dream of mine.  I converted my car with a bed and storage, and traveled the United States for four months seeing the sights.  Since I was on the road so long, this trip probably deserves slots 8-30 in this review.  I learned that I could do it, and had an amazing experience, and hope to be able to do it again at some point.  That is such an incredible understatement too.
  9. I spent a week in September visiting family and going to my cousin’s wedding.  It was great to see everybody and catch up on life with my aunts, uncles and cousins.
  10. My former boss, mentor and friend, Larry, died in mid-December.  He played an important role in my life and my career since I met him in 2001, and I will miss him terribly.

I am hopeful that 2019 will reveal itself to be a good year, with new beginnings and continued love from my friends and family.  May all your lives be blessed as well.

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, 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

Snowshoeing: March 2017

It had been a couple of years since I had snowshoed, but my friend Lelani posted photos on Facebook last year showing a recent snowshoeing adventure, so I asked if she wanted to go.  Of course, being always up for fun, she said, “of course!”  We went twice last winter, in March 2017, and had a blast both times!
Both of our trips were at Mount Baker; the first time we went to the Sno-Park, which has a path heading down to the Nooksack River.  You can also opt for a long snowshoe (or cross country ski) along a relatively easy, groomed track heading quite a distance in both directions.  
The second time a few weeks later, we went to the White Salmon Road near the Mt. Baker Ski Area. The snow had mostly melted in the lower elevations, so this is a good option that’s much higher in elevation and has snow longer than the lower elevations.
Both spots were fun, both times it was snowing lightly for at least part of the trip, and each area has a different view. 
The silence of walking in fresh snow!  All you can hear is your breath, and the soft crunch of your snowshoes.  Stopping to looking around at the view!  Taking photos while you catch your breath!  This is one of my favorite ways to exercise!
On the way home, we stopped both times at the North Fork Brewery and Beer Shrine, a local institution with delicious beer that they brew on site, and fabulous pizza!  The clams are amazing too!  There is often a wait, but you won’t be disappointed!

OMG- delicious clams and beer!

Mount Rainier 2015: Snowshoeing!

Did you know that Mount Rainier is one of the snowiest places on earth?  Jon and I visited in April – a new National Park for both of us!

At the beginning of National Parks week, when the parks have their fee-free day, Jon and I decided to make a weekend trip down to Mount Rainier National Park. We didn’t plan for our trip to coincide with fee-free day, as we have a National Parks pass, but it just happened to be Jon’s weekend off and we wanted to make the most of it. We got up really early – 5:15 am, and were on the road at 6:30. Driving was easy and we reached the park just after 10 am.

View of Mount Rainier - a cloudless sky!

View of Mount Rainier – a cloudless sky!

We went in the southwest entrance of the park and passed by the National Park Inn in the Longmire Historic District – that’s where we would be staying the night. We decided to first go to the Paradise section – so we made our way up the Paradise Road. It is a really gorgeous drive, past bridges and waterfalls and old-growth forest.

We parked at Paradise and went to the Visitor’s Center to figure out what we wanted to do. There was still a covering of snow on the trails, so we decided to rent snowshoes! For $14.50 per person, you can rent snowshoes for the day – they aren’t particular pretty, made of blue plastic and rubber straps, but they do the trick.

Jon straps on his snowshoes.

Jon straps on his snowshoes.

We talked to the ranger about a couple of snowshoe trail options and headed out. The snowshoes took a little getting used to; you have to walk with your feet farther apart than you normally would and of course, you have to pick up your feet higher, as you are walking on snow. All in all though, they were easy to use and we found walking in the snow was much easier for us than others without snowshoes.

Me as we set out for our first hike on snowshoes!

Me as we set out for our first hike on snowshoes!

The first trail we did (about a mile round trip) was the Nisqually Vista Trail. In the summer, this is a 1.2 mile paved trail; half of it was closed when we were there, so it was a slightly shorter out and back hike.

The trail took us over a little bridge, along a small creek that was visible through the snow and out along a section of trail that had amazing views of the mountain and the Nisqually Glacier. We also had a view of the Nisqually River Valley. We loved the scenery!

Me with a view of the Nisqually River Valley in the background

Me with a view of the Nisqually River Valley in the background

After we finished the Nisqually Vista Trail trail, we decided we still wanted to do more snowshoeing. We decided to hike a bit out the Edith Creek Basin trail, which in the summer offers spectacular views of scenic meadows with wildflowers and crosses over one of Mount Rainier’s famous waterfalls, Myrtle Falls. The weather was beautiful, with lots of sunshine and temperatures in the 60s! It was crazy for April in Washington State!

Edith Creek looking up at Mount Rainier

Edith Creek looking up at Mount Rainier


We went about a mile out, crossing over the bridge over Myrtle Falls and heading a little higher up the mountain. Many snowshoers and cross country skiers go much further to Panorama Point, but we stopped and turned around for a couple of reasons. This late in the season, we would be heading into a section that has a high risk of avalanches. The spring weather with the melting snow makes the heavy, slushy snow that is well known for sliding down the mountain, and we didn’t want to be anywhere near it!

Looking down at the top of Myrtle Falls

Looking down at the top of Myrtle Falls

After we made our way back to the Visitor’s Center, we decided 3 miles was enough snowshoeing for the day, because we wanted to do some hiking as well! We had a great time snowshoeing and would definitely do it again! Plus, I want to return and see Myrtle Falls and the wildflowers in summer!

After snowshoeing, we headed back down to a lower elevation to hike and check out some waterfalls! Have you been to Mount Rainier? Have you snowshoed at Paradise?