I’ve decided that these days we can best be described at National Park Scratchers. We never seem to have enough time or enough stamina to really explore the beautiful National Parks this country has been blessed with. And so, we tend to just scratch the surface of these wonders. We approach the rangers sitting behind the desk with the question – “So we only have the day (afternoon) and we’re old(ish). What are the “don’t miss” items in the park that we can see and do.” Yes, we’re those people – National Park Scratchers. But still, even with our limited time and ‘resources’, we were so glad we spent (at least part of the day) Saturday checking out Mt. Rainier National Park.
First of all it was a beautiful day. Crisp and clear and warm. Closing in on hot actually. (HOT actually happened on Sunday when the temps climbed to 97!). We kept chasing that mountain
until finally we were in the park and closing in on the subject!
Even before we got to the Visitor Center in the Paradise section of the park, we did our best to stop at some of the pull-outs to see what we could see!
(Not too much scenery, but I really like the cross!)
I say we ‘did our best’ to stop because the pull-outs were already full of cars trying to see what they could see. In fact, several times along the way there were signs that read – “Paradise Lot is Full. Through traffic only.” It seems that LOTS of folks thought this beautiful clear Saturday was an day excellent to visit the mountain!
And yes, indeed, the parking lot WAS full. As were the shoulders for at least a mile before you even got to the visitor center. We circled the lot a couple of times (us and about a dozen other cars) and then resigned ourselves to just a beautiful drive back down when a car pulled out of the line-up along the shoulder. Before I could say, “I don’t think we’ll fit in there”, Gary had us parked and we were walking back to the center. (We had hoped to do a loop drive that started from there, but that wasn’t open yet for the season. Silly snow!)
We checked out the 21 minute video (:)),
(We do love us a good National Park video!)
toured the small museum and gift shop. We decided that tromping through the snow wasn’t all that interesting to us, so we relinquished our shoulder parking spot and did indeed head back down the mountain road.
Most of the pull-outs were still packed, but I did make Gary stop so I could check out these lovely flowers blooming amidst a rock wall.
Pretty, pretty, pretty!
A few more photos of our day at the Park can be found here
but I thought I’d leave you with two very different views of Mt. Rainier –
Taken on my flight East back in early May –
and then on my flight back to Seattle two weeks later –
Yes, it’s that little dimple in the clouds! Gotta love Seattle weather!
Thanks for stopping by –
Your friendly neighborhood National Park Scratchers!