Mt Rainier, WA

Following up our last post about working in Washington two weeks ago, we partnered with Visit Mt Rainier to explore the iconic Mt Rainier National Park with our new found friends for a few days after spending some time in the awesome city of Tacoma. I have been to Mt Rainier multiple times before (and love it), but Sarah had not, so it was a real treat for us to get to go together! Mt Rainier is the crown jewel mountain peak of the Pacific Northwest, always so photogenic and inspiring countless outdoor activities. 

The first day, our lovely guide from Visit Mt Rainier led us via 15-passenger-van up the ascent of the glorious mountain. Our first stop was in the city of Elbe where we photographed a quaint little church and then explored the Mt Rainier Railroad and logging museum to learn some fascinating history about why this part of the country was originally developed. We then stopped by the Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculptures Park (photo of iron horse), where I ended up having more fun on Snapchat than Instagram, filming live horror-genre stories due to the eery setting. It was awesome. 

My favorite part of the day came with our first hike, a walk around the Longmire area and also the Trail of Shadows--I had never explored this part of the par before and the ginormous trees were epic! We then made our way to Narada Falls (also a first for me to experience), which greeted us with a smiling rainbow. The rest of our day was spent mostly doing a lengthier hike at my favorite part of the park, nicknamed "Paradise." Check out the photos below of the spot and you might begin to understand why people like to call it that. 

After chasing some local wildlife (which I always seem to find time to do), we caught a pretty sunset near Reflection Lakes before checking into our hotel for beers and some sleep at Crystal Mountain Resort, my favorite place to stay in the mountains.  

Day 2 led us to what became my favorite spot this particular trip: Tipsoo Lake. Last time I was at Tipsoo it was all covered in snow, and the beauty of the mountain reflection in the melted snow lake during summer time was enough to take the breath away. We then made our way to the famous Sunrise Hike, a must-do at Mt. Rainier. We burned off some calories going up and downhill and soaked in some serious vitamin-D until we were panting like the local wildlife. Yeah baby! 

Lastly, to cap it all off, we had the privilege of taking the Mt Rainier Gondola up a few thousand feet of gorgeous scenery to eat a late lunch at the Summit House restaurant. People: this is the highest restaurant in the state of Washington!!! Crazy. The food was incredible (I had a Bison burger that rocked my taste buds), and the view of Rainier from the top made me literally sing Sound of Music songs, whether my wife liked my singing or not (mostly not). After grabbing some coffee in the town of Enumclaw on our way home (awesome Native American name for a city!), we drove home to Portland where we already began dreaming of coming back. If you've never been to Mt Rainier before, you must repent of that sin, and GO ASAP.