My first glimpse of Mount Rainier was from the airplane before we landed in Seattle and even from that perspective it looked gigantic. At no time during our visit did I look up at Mt. Rainier and not be awed by how enormous and intimidating it looked. Honestly, not until I saw the mountain did I really understand just what Bryce and Jack were undertaking by trying to climb and summit Rainier (seeing the mountain certainly made me a little more nervous and wary of the climb).
Rainier National Park was the first National Park to be planned (it was the 5th park) and therefore the roads were planned so that every twist and turn has a beautiful view. It's absolutely breathtaking at times.
As we entered the park, we stopped and went for a hike on part of the Wonderland Trail where we came to a large stream that we stopped and enjoyed for a short while.
As soon as we made plans to accompany Bryce and Jack to Washington, we made reservations to stay at the Paradise Inn in the park. As you know, I love old hotels and the old lodges in the National Parks are high on my priority list of places to visit or stay. This hotel did not disappoint. I love how these lodges often have expansive gathering areas that are just the right rustic. In the evenings there is always someone playing the piano that was built by Han Fraehkne in 1919!
There's also a Ranger on duty in the morning which was very helpful for our children who were diligently working on Jr. Ranger badges.
The rooms are not large but they sure are charming.
After dinner, we all gathered around one of the giant tables and played a few hands of Peanuts, one of our favorite card games.
The next morning, before the guys had to check in with the mountain guides, we all went for a hike up part of Mount Rainier. The children had great fun hiking in snow in the middle of the summer. Frankly, for me it was fun for about the first 15 minutes, then my shoes started getting wet and I started getting a bit grouchy!
(I love how in this picture we all look like we are actually working to climb and Bryce looks like he's on a stroll)
After Bryce and Jack left, Kathleen and I had lunch with the children, participated in a Ranger led program and went for another short hike. We met the guys again for dinner at the Copper Creek Inn and then waved goodbye as they went on their adventure and we went on ours!