“People used to avoid mountains, but now we seek their company. We come for the pretty sights, but also to find a place still free from those life-saving constraints.
This year July turned out to be a great month, full of adventure and joy. We visited several alpine lakes and even got to swim in one. However, our hike along the Skyline Trail in the Mt Rainier National Park became a highlight of the month.
Perfect weather, breathtaking vistas, amazing 'dancing' wildflowers, cheeky chipmunks, friendly marmots, and a beautiful but deadly Tahoma (the great white mountain) awaited us last Monday.
Due to its popularity resulting in large weekend crowds, weekdays are the best time to visit this wonderland. We arrived around 1pm PST and managed to find a parking spot just below Paradise's main parking lot.
We decided to hike the Skyline Trail Loop clockwise. This way has a steep elevation gain initially, but allowed us to face the mountain on the way up and see it from ever changing perspectives.
The trail was mostly snow free with only a couple of small patches left. However, there were still large snow fields only several feet off the trail.
Good visibility afforded us some great views of Mt Adams, Mt St Helens and a very distant Mt Hood.
We certainly were grateful for the pit toilet at Panorama Point. Despite it being a weekday, it took us quite a while to wait in the queue. We spent the time talking to some international visitors who shared their admiration for the beauty of the region.
On our way back we passed by the Van Trump historic monument, dedicated to the first documented ascent of Mount Rainier by P.B. Van Trump and General Hazard Stevens in 1870. We also made sure to see the gorgeous Myrtle Falls. Best part of the second half of the hike was that we managed to get some solitude.