Mt. Rainier is famous for its flowers and we took our previous hike at the peak period, but I got inspired to return in late Summer/early Fall when I looked up the trail on the Mt. Rainier National Park site. When I saw pictures of the Fall foliage, I knew I wanted to return.
We definitely weren’t disappointed when we did so.
For the first half of our walk, we were immersed in brilliant Fall colors.
The second half of the hike was quite different but equally impressive.
There’s no way to convey the magnificent mountain through photographs, but the barely visible people in the lower, right-hand corner suggest just how massive it truly is.
This was our longest hike of the season, and by the time we got to our destination on the Overlook, it was hard to see the parking lot far below.
Tired or not, it was hard not to feel you were at the top of the world looking down on the rest of the Cascades.
My knees were definitely barking by the time we arrived back at the meadows, but it was impossible to complain surrounded by such beauty.
Although this wasn’t our last hike of the season, or even the last hike on Mt. Rainier, it seemed like the climax of the season.
What happened to December? It’s 2023? Really? I knew I hadn’t blogged for a while, but I didn’t realize that I didn’t post a single entry in December or January. Apparently, once you reach 80 time begins to get away from you. Of course, I already knew that because the only reason I know what day of the week is because my pill box has letters stamped on it (and I still remember the names of the days of the week).
After 30 years of teaching plus 20-some years of schooling, it feels like December should be vacation time, time to relax and refuel. Work should be limited to baking cookies or to decorating (and un-decorating) the house. “Vacation,” plus writer’s block kept me from finishing what I wanted to say about last summer’s hiking season.
The previous two blog entries centered on hikes where we didn’t reach our goal, hikes that, at least in one sense, seemed like failures. Luckily, those hikes were in the middle of hiking season and, at the very least, pushed us to gain strength and endurance and to make it possible to hike Rainier’s Rampart Ridge Trail when the wildflowers were in full bloom, a trip never to be forgotten for its sheer beauty.