Mt. Rainier can be seen from Seattle, but it is a national park so we wanted the up-close and personal experience. For two nights we camped on different sides of Mt. Rainier and we did two 5 mile hikes while at the park.
September 11 – September 13, 2014
Miles 5218 – 5397
We got a late start leaving Seattle; what can I say we enjoyed being in a home again and Bill was a great host to us. Also, we had loads and loads of laundry to do before we left. By the time we left we were already hungry for lunch so we stopped barely outside of Seattle at Saimin Says, a Hawaiian restaurant. It was definitely a unique cuisine. Jon’s burger came with on a patty of rice and was topped with an egg and smothered in bread.
Back on the road it took a few hours to get to Mount Rainier. Our guidebook had us stop in the Longmire Museum upon arrival, however it closed just as we got there. Instead we went to Cougar Rock to look for a campground. Once our camp was set up, we drove around the mountain a little to Nisqually Falls where a short hike takes you down to an overlook.
We also drove to Paradise where we did the 1.2 mile Nisqually Vista Loop which winds through the meadows below Mt. Rainier and overlooks the Nisqually Glacier. Dinner back at our campsite was a mismatch of the leftover food we’d been hauling around with us; a can of beans, a can of soup, and some cheesy rice. We watched our fire for a few hours. Once the fire burnt out, we took a short walk to look at stars. We saw many more stars than we would in DC, but the lights from Seattle kept the sky fairly bright.
We packed up camp in the morning and backtracked to Longmire to see what we had missed the previous day. We went to the Longmire Museum and then did the 0.7 mile Trail of the Shadows. The Trail of the Shadows seemingly refers to the shadows of the past as the trail walks by ruins of the original hot springs spa built in the park.
From Longmire we headed up the mountain to Paradise to hike the 5 mile Skyline Trail, one of the most popular trails in the park. We really enjoyed the Skyline Trail. The first half of it was all uphill through wildflower meadows and the view of Mt. Rainier just in front of you was beautiful. The trail peaks at Panorama Point which overlooks the Cascade Range. We had a perfect, clear day and were able to see Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Adams, and very faintly Mt. Hood. From Panorama Point there are two ways down; one crosses an ice field which was closed that day, so we took the longer route which climbs slightly higher before coming back down. As we drove to our next campground, we stopped a few times at overlooks and short hikes, such as Box Canyon.
That night we camped at White River Campground. Our camp site even had a small waterfall and stream going around it.
In the morning we drove to another part of Mt. Rainier, Sunrise. We wanted to take it easy after the long hike the day before, but after consulting our guide book and the visitors center we decided that we were only here once and should do the Burroughs Hike which was another 5 miles. When we were getting ready for our hike, we discovered our Cliff bars, trail mix, and several other food items had been gotten into by what I can only assume was a little furry stowaway. We went through our food supply and tossed a lot out. We also looked for the critter but couldn’t find it. In recalling some small tears we noticed the day before but hadn’t thought much of, we decided something had gotten into our car two nights previous and appears to have left at our last campsite.
The Burroughs hike takes you into tundra-like terrain. The views of Mt. Rainier were great, and this hike is the closest you can get to the mountain without climbing it. The tundra like terrain was different, but I enjoyed the desolate terrain near Otokomi Lake in Glacier National Park more. We had also wanted to hike a few more areas but were exhausted and wanted to get to Portland in time for dinner.