I spent a week on Mt. Rainier as part of the "Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard" teacher program. I learned a ton of geology, and a huge lesson on mountain weather. As in, mountain weather can turn faster than you'd think. When it's storming over the Tatoosh range, and you are hiking on the mountain, it's time to book it down to the lodge. And fast. My friend and I got caught in a rain + hail + lightening + thunder storm while hiking down from Panorama Point. By the time we reached the lodge at Paradise we were both soaked through. I believe I had a bit of hypothermia (blue lips, anyone?). On the way down the trail was basically a river of mud. We also crossed an actual river (ok, it was a creek, but it was running fast), and hiked over snow. That morning we had learned about lahars, and how little water is actually required to get one moving. You can imagine the horrors that were going through our heads as we ran-hiked down the mountain. It was intense.
I also saw my first marmot, which was comical. That little guy was not even a meter off the trail, happily munching on lupine plants. He didn't care at all that we stood there, clicking away with our cameras.
I can't wait to take Joe to the mountain and show him all the new places I've been. Panorama Point, Glacier Vista, and Box Canyon are high on my list.