Mt. RAINIER Appears!!!

Miles Driven today: 26. Total miles driven: 210

Not the best nights and we were both awake at 530. But…. On pulling back the curtain, the sky was clear and promising a brilliant day ahead.

We had breakfast in our room. Bob had croissants with jam and I had yoghurt. We used our travel kettle to make coffee. Then I made a packed lunch. Bob had 2 chicken rolls using the last of yesterday’s roast chicken and I packed a hard boiled egg and some cold smoked turkey for me.

We set off about 815 and as we came out onto the terrace, there it was, rising hugely above us and covered in snow: Mt. RAINIER in all its glory!!!! The lodge is at about 5500 feet so only the upper part is really visible from here. A gorgeous day: sunny, blue, clear skies and about 25C.

Our first hike was just a short one, up on the hillsides behind the hotel to a Ridge that gives a better view of the mountain. You walk along a trail through the wildflowers and after about half a mile can descend down to Myrtle Waterfall. A lovely sight. Two Chinese ladies enjoyed it too much and in leaning over managed to drop both their phones into the river. We left them poking around fruitlessly with their hiking sticks.

There were also some very tame chipmunks who came right up and sat on our arms. The trail was part of the Skyline trail that goes many miles around the mountain. We are just doing multiple short ones though at this point. It’s less gruelling and we need to work ourselves up a bit. I must confess that I could feel the altitude on uphill sections. Not to mention my aerobic unfitness of course!!! The trek we did in the Himalayas is a long time ago now…

Second hike was longer and more hilly along a Ridge that wended through forest and flowers and opened to stupendous vistas of Rainier. We could see more of it from this Ridge and started to appreciate the huge spread of the massive strato volcano. The peak is well over 14,400 feet. It is a good 2000 feet higher than any other peak in Washington. I took far too many photos, I know. It’s just mesmerisingly huge and…. there…. well, until it hides away in the clouds again. It’s amazing really that something so very big can be totally concealed.

The wildflowers are really coming out now. Some look like a species of wild orchid. I wish I could recognise them but it is a beautiful sight to see. All the grass areas are protected, you can’t walk in there, you must keep to the trails so it is difficult to get a successful “whole field” photo but I got some nice ones of flowers growing along the edges.

When we got back from that, we drove along Steven’s Canyon Road to Reflection Lakes. These are some beautiful smallish lakes that on a clear day give a reflection of the mountain. Big picture opportunity. Today there was just enough breeze to ripple the water and stop that. We took our picnic and walked a way around the lake intending to have it there. However we were thwarted by huge clouds of mosquitoes that soon had us scurrying back to the car. Stupidly we had forgotten to put any bug spray on and it was definitely required.

We drove on down through extraordinary canyons giving views in all directions. We could see Mt. St. Helens clearly in the distance, its top definitely blown off. Visiting there on Sunday.

We found a lovely picnic area in the woods near Box Canyon. We were totally alone in there. So serene. Well….. That’s until we were discovered by the mosquitoes again!!!!! We finished the picnic in the car. So British.

Bob’s back was playing up by now so we decided to call it a day and come back to the lodge. He had some paracetemol and a Deep Heat rub and a sleep. I sat downstairs and read for a while. The lodge was very busy and a second wedding was underway. Gorgeous place for it.

Tonight we had dinner in the lodge restaurant, shared a big salad starter and a burger main. The portions were enormous so it was a good idea to share. We were going to the stargazing but at the appointed time it looked a bit hazy so we thought we’d try another night.