Sept 30 – Ellensberg to Mount Rainier
(don’t forget to check out the slideshow, above, for more pictures)
The morning started with a nice hot shower at the KOA off the highway (just off the highway — another night of “Big Rig Serenade”). We were working our way in the general direction of Mount Saint Helens to find a campsite but we came upon a view towards Mount Adams and Mount Rainier that distracted us.
We decided to head over to Mount Rainier (pronounced a bit like “Reindeer”) to check it out. Some sights along the way included these of Fred G. Redmon Memorial Bridge, a canyon and some beautiful waterfalls. En-route we learned about a local legend from the Confederated Tribes of Yakama Nation about the creation of a nearby rock formation. Anyway, in the course of the legend, chief Me-ow-wah was turned into a nearby mountain now known as “Goose Egg”. “Me-ow-wah” — next cat name! Just sayin’…
We drove up through Mount Rainier park and did a little hike there (we double-checked with the local rangers and “no drones” was the word). We hiked up about 600ft to 6083ft high (whereas Rainier is 14,000+ ft — so we were less than half way). The beautiful mountain garden there was described by none other than John Muir himself as “… the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings.”
Finally we headed off to Mount Saint Helens Seaquest State Park where, again in the dark, we located the campsite (not as easy as it sounds!), navigated the “late check-in procedure”, and set up our tent. It was one of the most beautiful sites we’ve been in to-date with huge Douglas Fir trees bending in the wind all around us.