From Olympic National Park we made our way across Washington to Mount Rainier. We couldn’t resist a quick stop at some of the Twin Peaks locations on our way. We picked up some donuts from Mighty-O to enjoy at our destination, then proceeded to take a bunch of goofy photos with stacked donuts because we are so totally cool. Some people at the falls were really confused about why we were doing this, so I just played the theme song from the opening credits on my phone and ignored them.
After a scenic drive we reached Mount Rainier. We checked out the Paradise Inn Hotel which was open for its final day of the season. It had that same feeling of bustling people and impending doom that you see in the Overlook hotel at the beginning of The Shining (though I’m sure it’s a pleasant place, not a haunted one).
We then grabbed some leftover slices of pizza that we had saved from Pizza Pi and began the hike up Skyline Trail. Though the first section of this trail is paved and full of people, as you get farther up the mountain the crowds thin out. We even saw a marmot snacking in the meadow. The views of the glaciers and the mountain itself as we climbed were beautiful.
Near the top of its loop, the trail crosses a small snow field. We had the option to go up and around but we were feeling adventurous and decided to make our way across. Very slowly, step by step we inched across the steep snow on a narrow trail. It wasn’t until we were nearly on the other side that we noticed that there was rocky crevasse at the bottom. In any case, we made it safely without slipping and felt invigorated by our accomplishment.
Once on the other side of the snow we saw only a handful of people and had the trail almost entirely to ourselves. The sun set over the mountains and we walked in the cool afternoon down the trail. We crossed several streams and the terrain reminded me of Mount Tongariro with its meadows laced with volcanic rocks and numerous streams crossing the trail. I’m sure Mount Rainier is stunning in spring when the wildflowers are blooming as well as winter when everything is covered in snow.
We made it down to the trailhead before it got dark, had a few more of those tasty donuts, and started our drive out of the park. Rather than driving all the way back to Portland, we spent the night at the McMenamins Olympic Club in Centralia, WA. Our room was super cozy and the hotel quiet. We were too tired to check out the bar but all the restored vintage decor was really impressive. Staying there did feel a little like traveling back to a time of boarding houses and social clubs. I’m fairly sure we were the only ones staying there that night which only added to the quaintness of the place.
The following day we spent hanging out in Portland, eating some of our favorite vegan foods and visiting the Snow Peak store. We grabbed some sandwiches from Brass Tacks before catching a flight home, which turned out to be a perfect dinner to bring to the airport being both tasty and packable. I wish we could have stayed longer. There are always more places to explore and more places to eat. I guess not getting enough will always make me want to go back.
Shawn has some of his own posts up about our trip, featuring a lot of the great food we ate on our adventure, starting here.