4th of July was the US Independence Day holiday so Eric decided to take the whole week off so that we could go somewhere further from home. At first, we thought of taking a road trip for 5 days in a stretch so that we can cover a further distance. But after much thought, we decided not to be too adventurous andbreak it up into 2 trips with a day of rest back at home so that it would not be so strenuous for Cheryl. Our 1st portion of the holiday was spent visiting Mount Rainier and I will write on the 2nd portion in another post.
Mount Rainier NP may not be as highly visited as some of the other well-known national parks like Yellowstone NP or Grand Canyon NP but it most certainly has one of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. We’ve been to Grand Canyon back in 2006 and the view was majestic; but it couldn’t match up to the beauty of Mt Rainier. Of course, that is my personal opinion. Perhaps there may be others who prefer red rocks and canyons to snowy mountains.
Mt Rainier is located in the state of Washington and is about 3 hours away from Portland, OR. This mountain wonderland is famous for its dense forests, dazzling wilflower meadows, tremendous snowfields and rugged glaciers. The 14,411-foot (4,392 m) mountain is also an active volcano and is often shrouded in clouds that dump enormous amounts of rain and snow on the peak every year.
On our journey up the mountain, we stopped by Mineral Lake and Elbe, a small town known for its scenic railroad at the foothills of Mt Rainier.
During our trip, we even managed to catch a glimpse of some wildlife there. As we were travelling along the road, we suddenly came to a stop. A mother deer and her 2 fawns were generous enough to graze along the main road so that road travellers like us could stop and take pictures. We were thankful this time that our experience with the deer wasn’t the same like the one back in 2006 (back then, the mother deer just ran out suddenly as we were travelling on the road and had a head-on collision with our car).
Eric was hoping to see a wild bear during our trip and we were fortunate enough to spot one wandering at the side of the road.
On our way back, we stopped by a place called ‘Grove of the Patriachs’ to see the Douglas Fir trees in the forest.
On the last night of our trip, we went to watch the 4th of July fireworks at a small town called Randle. The event was held at an elementary school field and the fireworks was to begin after dark. No time was mentioned. Not knowing exactly what time it would get dark enough for the fireworks to be lit, we headed to the school early so that we can get a good spot to park and to wait for the fireworks. As you can see from the picture below, the sky was still bright at 8pm when we arrived and people have started to gather at the field early to get a good spot. One thing we’ve noticed is that Americans usually go all the way to make themselves comfortable for outdoor events….so foldable chairs and ground sheets or beach blankets are one of those essential things that are always kept handy for times such as these. We didn’t come prepared to watch fireworks; in fact, we just stumbled upon this event on the notice board of a grocery store. So, we were practically the only people with no chair or ground sheet. And strangely, we were also the only ones with a tripod and SLR camera set up for photo taking.
Though Cheryl broke Daddy’s glasses during the trip, it was all in all a good and fruitful one – Cheryl took the whole journey well, we had a good time enjoying the beauty of God’s creation together and ended our trip with fireworks. What more can we ask for?