The invitation was unexpected.
My wife and I had just finished a shift at the Food Bank when another of the volunteers that we had befriended mentioned she and her husband were planning a trip to Mount Rainier, and would we be interested in coming along?
In part one, I mentioned how I’d discovered Mount Rainier’s alpine meadows by accident. Since that fateful trip I’d only made it back once, 20 plus years ago, and the view on that trip was marred by clouds and fog. I hadn’t been there with my wife at all, although I’d mentioned it as a place we needed to go to on several occasions.
Needless to say, the decision to go was a no-brainer.
The next strategy was to pick a date. We wanted peak wildflower season, plus clear weather. It’s tough to get a good picture with a mountain background when the whole thing, as massive as it is, is buried in an even more massive cloud. That was the issue on my last trip; when we got to a key lookout I’d bragged up to a traveling buddy the result could only be described as a white cat drinking milk from a white bowl in a snow storm. Paradise if you’re an albino playing hide and seek, but it wasn’t the Paradise we were hoping to see.
This time around we had more luck.
When you’re coordinating a trip with other folks, sometimes you need to make allowances. Our plan was to drive up, do a bit of sight-seeing, find somewhere to spend the night nearby, come back the next day and look around some more, and drive home in the afternoon. However, by the time we were able to confirm a date with our co-travelers finding a place to stay became problematical. Nearby became Tacoma, a 90-minute drive away.
Although we had a date, our co-travelers still had trouble getting off the blocks; between being chained to a desk and waiting for a cousin to take a test for school it was three before they could hit the road. We opted to leave earlier, giving us more daylight for a warm up hike in Paradise.
|(I couldn’t decide if I liked color or b/w better…)|
In part one we adjourned early, with the suggestion we shouldn’t pile the goodies on too heavy, they’d lose impact. Today we’re going to ignore that. Consider this a Thanksgiving feast of flowers and mountain views – you can diet later.
Like the tides, the sun waits for no man – we had to head back down the mountain. By the time we got back to our car it was the full black of night, and our headlights gave only a hint of the twists and turns of the descent to Tacoma.
After an all too short snooze and breakfast, we drove back up the mountain, scoping out what was behind the scarier curves from the night before. As this day was a Saturday, we didn’t even attempt to return to Paradise; with the length and lateness of our commute we didn’t feel lucky enough to play parking lot roulette on a prime time weekend. So we spent our time cruising through the southern part of the park, stopping for viewpoints and a hike or two.
“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”
― Albert Einstein