Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mt Rainier - Paradise

Mt Rainier is truly breathtaking. It's no wonder that the south slope is officially named Paradise. Not as high up as the northern slope of Sunrise (6400 ft), Paradise is 5400 ft above sea level. Since I live just steps away from Lake Washington, standing on a mountain that high is an ethereal experience. Of course the actual peak of Mt Rainier is 14411 ft, so even though it looks so close, I was really only about a third of the way up.

There's something about the air up there that I can't pin down. Maybe it's just how clean the air is. Or maybe it's the lack of the city pollution that I've grown accustomed to. Or maybe it's just that fresh mountain smell. I'm not sure. But whatever it is, I am always acutely aware of the air on Mt Rainier.

Last Saturday my husband and I visited Paradise and did some hiking. I'd like to one day hike the Wonderland Trail, but I'm far from ready for such a long hike. Instead, we hiked to Sluiskin Falls and back, which was about 4 miles round-trip. Along the way we saw tall firs and fields of wildflowers.

I'm ashamed to say that in the seven years I've lived in the Seattle-Tacoma area, this is only the third time I've made it up to Mt Rainier. I want to plan more day trips to Mt Rainier, and eventually camp up there (reservations can be tough to get).

Couldn't have said it better myself, Muir.

Where's your favorite place to enjoy nature?


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