We were blessed to get to visit a gorgeous national park and then...
we were exceptionally blessed to have sunshine for our visit!
|Mt. Rainier National Park|
|Ah, blue skies and bluer rivers greet us at Mt. Rainier NP.|
|Checking out the museum/visitor center to learn about Mt. Rainier and pick up junior ranger books.|
Did you know that Mt. Rainier is an active volcano?!
|Diligent with their studies.|
First trail hike is Trail of the Shadows.
We did this primarily for the junior ranger books, but
I'm so glad that we did!! It was a fantastic trail! We
learned about some of the founders of the park, saw the springs,
and TONS of wildlife. It was a beautiful trail, too. What a surprise find!
|Red breasted Sap Suckers! |
Can you spot 2 of them?
|We saw lots of evidence of beaver activity...|
I've never seen a tree like this "in the wild" before!
|Black Tail deer|
We also saw baby squirrels and heard lots of different birds. And Mt. Rainier kept peeking out around the bends in the trail :)
After the hike, we had a picnic lunch in the woods.
Then, we headed deeper into the park towards Paradise, at the base of Mt. Rainier. Along the way, we stumbled upon another AMAZING trail. We had to trod through some snow, so we almost didn't go. This is what we would have missed!
But, when you turn around...this is the view!
|That is Mt. Rainier in the background. It was sunny all around the park, but the|
clouds decided to hug the top of the mountain most of the afternoon :(
|Almost our family Christmas picture...boo on you clouds!|
We totally enjoyed this creek and walking across this bridge. It was just gorgeous and the kids loved playing along the banks.
|DT loved throwing big rocks off the bridge...glad Monty is there to hold on to him!|
Onward up the mountain to Paradaise
|Glacier track up close.|
|One of the many other mountain peaks in the area.|
The visitor center at Paradise
This is a really nice visitor center. The wonderful displays are located on the second floor. The second floor is all windows on two sides. One side is Mt. Rainer and the other side is this view:
|This is taken from the second floor of the visitor center...|
Those are some DEEP snowbanks!
|There are binocular stations along each windowed wall. We could actually see hikers making their way up Mt. Rainier! You couldn't see them without the binoculars.|
|Well done kids... Mt. Rainier Junior Rangers!|
|Outside the visitor center at Paradise.|
That is Mt. Rainier...clouds are still hugging the top.
And now we know there are hikers up there today!
|This is one of the smaller snow banks! |
I forgot to take a picture of the 30' snowbank. :(
|The view driving back down...|
Mt. Rainier NP road is closed at Paradise due to snow, so we had to turn around.
|The view from the top...looking down at the glacier track.|
(This is the one I took the picture of when crossing the bridge waaaay down below. It wasn't
as impressive in the close up.)
We have had some amazing views out of our windshield on this trip!
After driving across the bridge, we got out and walked it.
Here is the view from the bridge:
(Dear clouds, go away already!)
One last hike of the day:
|Near the trailhead is this great view of Mt. Rainier...oh, and those pesky clouds!|
|Jolie wanted all visitors to know that this park was created by God :)|
Her writing says, "No million years. -God"
This hike took us to where a bridge used to be before the volcano
shook and reshaped the landscape and path of Kautz Creek.
|Come on clouds....move off the top of the mountain!!!|
Mt. Rainier is RIGHT there!
|The top of Mt. Rainier has been playing peek-a-boo with me all day...|
and now the kids are getting in on the act :)
When we made it back to the trailhead, we decided to take one last look at Mt. Rainier, just in case the clouds decided to move along.
And we were rewarded!!!