Monday, August 26, 2013

Mount Rainier

I look like a nut. I love this pic! The snow kept falling off the trees and onto my head.
   I have been to Mount Rainier so many times that I kinda have to chose just one trip to talk about because we don't want a fifty page vacation story. However, I would like to state here that Mount Rainier is fantastic at every season. There isn't a bad time to go. There just isn't. However, in the winter, many of the roads and trails are closed due to the snow, and you can't even enter the park unless your car is prepared for snow, meaning snow tires or chains. That does put a damper on some people's trip planning, but in the winter there is skiing and sledding and snowboarding and snowshoeing.
   So I am going to talk about our winter trip, which was my daughter's 9th birthday trip. We have been since then, but this trip was really outstanding and memorable. My whole family went, which means my mom, my sister, her two kids, and my daughter and I; also this was my daughter's birthday. She had never had such an extravagant birthday before, and she hasn't had a trip this extravagant since. But the timing was right and we wanted to go snowshoeing. We had never gone snowshoeing before, and I am not sure what possessed us, but we were gonna do it. My family gets like that.
   We stayed at the National Park Inn for this trip. A lot of people like Paradise Inn, and I like that inn too, but Paradise is closed for the winter. You can't get to that section of the park because of the massive amounts of snow and ice. National Park Inn stays open year round.
We saw this awesome looking bird from the porch.
    The one thing to remember about both of these inns are that they are historic and have not been tampered with a lot. Some of the rooms do not have their own shower and toilet; there are public ones for everyone to use, but some of the newer rooms do have a private bathroom. We always specify that we want a bathroom. If we didn't want our own private bathroom, we would go camping, not stay at an Inn.
    The roads were icy, so when we got to the National Park Inn, the car stayed parked for the entire six days that we were there. (Yes, we tend to take week-long vacations. We like to really sink our teeth into a vacation. Such long stays are not really needed if you don't want to stay that long.) We left the Inn; the minivan did not. No one wanted to drive.
    My sister's kids got sick on this trip, so even though she was with us, we didn't see as much of her because they stayed in the room a lot. We did see some of her, but we need to get her up there again so she can visit when her kids aren't sick, because now that I think of it, I think this is the only time my sister has gone. She gets less vacation time then me, and I get less than my mom. As such, my daughter has spent more time on Mount Rainier than I have, because even when  I can't go, my mom often takes her as a travel buddy.
She liked sledding, and those are my gloves she is wearing. Why?
    I loved snowshoeing! It was really fun. We didn't really know what we were doing, but we figured it all out eventually, and there was no one there to laugh at us for our inexperience. Mount Rainier in the winter is really beautiful, and you really get a sense of isolation when you are out on the trails in your snowshoes. My daughter loved sledding on her sled. She had a blast with that. She liked snowshoeing as well, and the pattern of our days tended to be that we would spend the morning outside snowshoeing and sledding, and then in the afternoon we would hang around the inn. They have a huge porch, with  comfy chairs all along the length of the porch, and you can sit and relax and look at all the snow. They also have a large common room, with a lot of seating, and you can sit by the fireplace and read a book or knit (my mom knits) or whatever. These things we did in the afternoons, when we were tired from all the morning activity.
    During the other seasons, there are a lot more open trails and all of the visitor centers are open, and there are ranger programs, and all of these things are really good. But Mount Rainier is different for each season, and this winter trip was really nice. I loved all the snow and all the isolation and peace. You can really get away from the rest of the world, especially since cell signals don't work and there is no wifi and the inn doesn't have TVs. You really have to leave all that technology behind and just enjoy your visit.

Isn't Mount Rainier beautiful?

   In case anyone is wondering, all of the vacation pics I have posted of all my vacations where taken by my mom. She is quite the photographer, I think. And in case you are interested, the link (in blue) to Mount Rainier, so that you can find out more and maybe plan your own trip :) 

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