Most years I do an annual drive around the mountain, that being Mt. Rainier that is. My brother was up visiting and he had never seen that back side of the park so why not do the drive? And Monday was a pretty sunny day making it even better.
Over the years I have found a great backdoor way to get to the Nisqually entrance of the park that avoids highways and never ending surface streets full of traffic and we saw only a handful of cars on our way there. Sure it involves dark roads to nowhere but hey, better than driving 10 miles through non-stop red lights! 😉
Rainier, looking across to her, a few miles below Paradise:
Walker and I:
Walker in his sunhat, at Paradise:
Between the very sunny day, 8 or so feet of snow left and being at 5600 feet or so it was very bright. I was not enjoying the sun to say the least. Oh well. Walker was though – and was charming everyone while walking around the snow covered meadows of Paradise:
After leaving Paradise we drove down Paradise Valley to Stevens Canyon Road and enjoyed the drive:
First peeks of Tatoosh Ridge:
We stopped at Reflection Lakes which had finally melted, though it had plenty of icebergs at the edges and snow in the woods nearby. The Wonderland Trail runs under the road and it was still covered in many feet of snow. Most people stopping at the big lake stop there, the best views though are at the end of the parking area – no trees, no snow in the way. Hah! It is though one of the best (and easiest to get) views of Rainier:
I took the guys down Stevens Canyon Road which once you leave Reflections is to me one of the best and funnest roads to drive. Curvy, open to the views with a screaming drop off for miles. Oh baby. Tear it up in the mini-van! (Hahhah!)
On the first curve there is an amazing view of Rainier with the road below it:
We stopped at the picnic area before Box Canyon and had lunch. I had never stopped there before – and would recommend it. It is quiet (unlike Box Canyon down the road). Lots of tables on easy access dirt paths in cool woods. It was in the mid to upper 70’s by then so I liked that. Even found that one of the tables had a neat hidden view of Mt. Adams!
Our drive down to Ohana was uneventful and we enjoyed the cooling breezes.
Then a quick left onto Hwy 123 and back uphill to subalpine, a left onto Hwy 410 and before we knew it we were rounding White River.
On the way back I took the guys out for ice cream at Wapiti Woolies in Greenwater. Walker was in love 😉
A mellow day, although that was a lot of sitting!