Mt. Rainer! It’s not every day that you get to wake up next to an active volcano. Well, if you live in Saskatchewan that is! After consulting the friendly staff at at the Visitor’s Center we were off on the road to Paradise. No really, Paradise is the name of the resort very near Mt. Rainer.
First on a list of things to do was to hike to the Grove of the Patriarchs. As the name may imply, really old trees! Douglas firs, Western Red Cedars, and Western Hemlocks. Last night we were commenting on the massive size of the trees in our campsite. We even named one of them, Wallace. It was too massive and majestic to not have a name while we were here.
Hiking to the Grove of the Patriarchs reminds me of when we where driving the road to the Wrangell Range. “Surely this must be the best view now. No, now this is the best view now”! Each tree seemed so cool and we couldn’t imagine that there was going to be a bigger and better tree. Of course there was. Once you walk over the scary suspension bridge, there is a plethora of amazingly old trees. We are talking over 1000 years!!!
Something that was partially interesting to find out was that only the outer 9-10 inches is still living wood. The centers of these massive trees are mostly rotten out! This is particularly evident on the trees that have fallen over. You can see right into the roots and far up into the hollow tree.
We continued onto Paradise, but the road to paradise is not easy. Just joking, but I am seeing how many “Paradise” puns I can make. We got to our first potential view of the mountain, however it was cloud covered. We continued to Box Canyon and surprisingly in the matter of 15 minutes or so the mountain had completely cleared. Amazing! She is only at 14,410 feet, but she is beautiful. Almost as good as Alaska. Now I said almost, as everyone know my love for Alaska and Mt. McKinley at nearly 20,000 feet.
We hiked the trail to Box Canyon. At the end of the trail is a bridge over the canyon, and it is 115 feet from the bridge to the surface of the water. We had to throw a snowball down just to see how incredibly long it takes for it to get to the water. One elephant, two elephant, three elephant….
So now to Paradise, for real. There are too many waterfalls to name beside the road, sometimes even flowing over the road and splashing onto the roof of the car. Car wash anyone?? As we climbed higher up the mountain we were in the snow. The snow here was not plowed but blown away, the snow blower carves a path down to the road. It was laughable how much higher the snow was as we switchbacked up the road to Paradise. Unfortunately when we got to Paradise, it was not paradise at all! Every parking spot was taken and the mountain had again clouded over. All the people were having a great time playing around in the snow and climbing on the snow banks. Frankly, we do this for 6 months of the year, so back down the road we went.
On the way down we stopped at Narada Falls and had a bite to eat, here we where tormented by the local Stellar Jays and Grey Jays.
We drove into Packwood and picked up some WiFi and called it a day. We are enjoying another expensive campfire, but when the cost of camping is $12, for a view like this, I guess I can’t complain.