Ryan and I took the boys on a day trip to Mount Rainier this weekend.
You know how it is when you live somewhere and take certain places for granted and skip out on doing the ‘touristy’ things because you aren’t a tourist? This was one of those things.
But Ryan has summitted the mountain twice (he’s kinda amazing) and we were Audrey-less for the day (because let’s all admit that hiking with a 5 year old girl is not the easiest) so it was the perfect chance to do something fun and outdoorsy with the boys.
The south entrance to Mt. Rainier is about two hours from our house – a beautiful drive through little towns that are in the middle of nowhere and I always wonder what draws residents to choose to live there. You get to the Mt. Rainier National Park entrance which is about 2500 feet above sea level and can stop off at lots of different turn-offs along the way up.
We stopped for lunch and hiked down to the Nisqually River bed, which is remarkably low as a result of our way below normal snow levels this winter. The river water is all murky looking because it is from a glacier and is filled with tiny particles of bedrock (read the actual description here if you’re interested) and is super chilly even on a summer day. The top of the mountain peeked out through the clouds every once in a while and is seriously breathtaking up close.
After lunch, we ventured on to Paradise – an area at about 5000 feet above sea level with a visitors center, picnic areas and hiking trails. This is the point where the real hikers take off from, but also great for just day trips. If you hit it right, Paradise is filled with wildflowers. We were a little late for those, but it was still so pretty.
Like I said, Ryan has done the big hike twice before and it was so fun to hear more about the specifics of his trips: the gear he used (40 lbs worth), how long it took (4 hours on the snowfield, sleep until midnight, hike to the top and summit at 7am, then hike all the way back down), what the top looks like (a crater you walk across to sign a book. On a very clear day, you can see all the way to Seattle). Needless to say, we were all super impressed with him.
We hiked the trails up for a bit until we were all winded. This hiking mountains thing is not for the faint of heart.
One of my favorite parts was seeing so many different people speaking so many different languages. I forget what an amazing thing this 14,410 ft mountain is. It truly attracts visitors from around the world.
Once we made it down, we stopped in this teeny, tiny town for ice cream, sat for a moment on a chair lift-turned-swing then made our way back home.
I’m so glad we took the day to explore this part of our home state. It makes me excited to find the next ‘touristy’ thing to do with the kids!
Have you done anything fun around your home this summer? Please share!