I have had many a post about our weather here in the Pacific Northwest. These days, while the rest of the country has been suffering with sweltering heat, high humidity, and generally miserable weather; we’ve been cloudy, a bit rainy and in the 60s or low 70s. In other words, perfect for summer bike riding.
However, cloudy and cool is not the best weather in which to go enjoy Mt Rainier. When we woke up to the drizzle, I considered for a second canceling the trip…
Two things made me NOT do this. The first was Michelle saying, “Of course we are going!” The second was the magic weather of the NW. In short, the weather down here in the flats is NOT always the same as the mountains. Many is the time it will be cloudless and warm here, but Rainier will be shrouded in storm clouds.
Other times, and that was today, you can leave wet and cloudy at home, and by the time you get to Mt Rainier National Park, you will see this!
It was the PERFECT day to be there!
Today was another chapter in the Summer of Adventure! We’ve gone zip lining, to a mariners game, and today, we took the Gondola at Crystal Mountain ski area.
It takes you from the ski lodge at the bottom to the top of Crystal mountain, 6872 feet. We were told we would have great views of Rainier as well as the surrounding area.
We were awake early and at the ski area a little after 10, just after the gondola started running. Not everyone was there for the ride though, as you can see mountain yoga was in full swing.
There are also gift shops. Confession time here folks: I am a sucker for a cool gift shop! I love pins and patches, fun t shirts, and yep, cool hats!
But, our main goal was the gondola!
We had the car to ourselves for the 2000 foot climb to the top. It was just plain fun! If you’d like to see what we did, here is the GoPro edit (only 2 minutes!)
When we got to the top though, I had to just stand and look. We left rain and clouds, to come to the top of a mountain and see this!
Yep, without a doubt, WELL worth the trip. It wasn’t the only mountain out today, his little brother Adams made an appearance as well.
Editors note: While we were having lunch, I chose not to correct the guy who was explaining to his kids that this was St Helens…
As you can see, I wasn’t the only one taking pictures.
There is also a restaurant, the Summit House, at the top. Mountain air makes more than just this little guy hungry
Michelle and I decided to have lunch. And, what better place to also have a glass of wine!
The wine and lunch hit the spot, and after walking around up on top, checking out the scenery
It was time to wave goodbye and head down (After we checked out the summit gift shop!)
Our day wasn’t quite over though! I really wanted to see more of the park today. Sadly, many people had the same idea! There was a sign saying Sunrise was full and roads crowded with cars still trying to get there, we needed another plan, so we drove up to Lake Tipsoo on top of Chinook Pass.
This is an alpine lake I have visited since I was in the 2nd grade. You would think by now I would be tired of it…
But how can you not stop and admire mountain flowers
Or gaze into a mountain stream
Or for the first time ever spotted (by me that is) in this lake, watch tadpoles! The ranger said these would grow up to be a western toad.
Here is a video!
By the way, this lake is only here a couple of months each summer. The rest of the time it looks like this
Yep, if you didn’t KNOW there was a lake there, you’d never guess! That’s what makes it so special to me.
We walked around the lake, took in the smells, the sights and the sounds of the mountain. Michelle and I both had hard weeks. Work can seriously suck sometimes. But there is nowhere in the world (except maybe the Oregon Coast) where I am happier and more at peace than Rainier.
I badly needed a trip up here, and the mountain gods knew it. They delivered a picture postcard day, and Michelle and I enjoyed every minute of it! Thanks for tagging along!