Saturday, September 10th, 2011

We spent a whirlwind weekend at Mt. Rainer National Park with some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever encountered. Vast meadows, fast flowing waterfalls, wildflowers galore…the park lives up to its name, “Paradise!”

Wow!

Spectacular wildflower season!

 Todd and I did something that was totally out of character for us…we left for the park Friday night, totally unplanned with no reservations since the parks are first come first serve after Labor Day. It had been a long first week of school dealing with the stress of overloaded classrooms. I was a little worried about leaving for the weekend with so much planning to do, but in the end, I was glad I did. Todd left work early and had the trailer hooked up in no time. A quick stop at the grocery store for enough food to make it through the weekend, and we were on our way.

The park is just a short three hour drive from Portland. We arrived at the park around 10 p.m. and we were surprised to find the park almost full. This was the second time we’ve put up camp in the dark….we’re getting a little more efficient at it!

View out of our back windows.

Saturday morning we left early for the five mile drive up to the “Paradise” section of the park. We had packed a light lunch as we thought we’d only hike a short distance and admire the flowers. Once we started walking though we just kept climbing…past waterfalls, through the meadows, across snow fields and finally along the glacier. I must have snapped a thousand photos -everywhere we turned the scenery just took our breath away. We had quite the feeling of accomplishment  as we enjoyed our protein bars and peanut butter at the top of Panoramic Point!

Paradise…aptly named!

Amazing views as we hiked up to snowfields!

Great place for lunch!

I wasn’t too sure about this….

Hum…really?

Glacial melt…

I’m hoping we get back up to the park one more time before the rainy season sets in. Apparently, Autumn is also spectacular, and we’ve only just begun to explore the area!

The Lodge at Mt. Rainer

 One of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited. How we’ve lived in the Portland area for 45 years without
visiting here is completely beyond me!

Perfect way to end our weekend!