Ford and I had a free Saturday so we decided to visit Paradise up at Mt. Rainier. The new visitor center had opened last week so a double plus.
We decided to take the ‘scenic’ back way there which actually was pretty nice – nearly no traffic lights and almost no traffic. And a lot of pretty sections, all the Maple trees were lit up with fall.
Well, we get within 30 minutes of entering Mt. Rainier NP and the clouds we have driven into are now raining. Ugh. And the temperature kept dropping. Still, I had my fingers crossed – often it is nasty in the valleys below and nice above 4-5,000 ft.
And as we wrapped around coming up to 5,000 ft it started to clear. We drove out of the clouds in to blue skies and sun.
Ok, it was 34* out, but the sun made you think it was nicer 😉
Off we went to visit the new center. They kept it named after Henry M. Jackson, which I am happy they did. He did so much for the park in his lifetime. The old visitor center is being torn down. That thing was HORRIBLE! It was gross when I was a kid, and was gross as an adult. It always smelled wet, moldy and the cafeteria there was even nastier smelling – it seemed it smelled of chili dogs year round. We always called the old VC the Alien Mother Ship after its awful design (it was circular). The new VC fits right into the landscape – it looks like the Paradise Inn, the guide house, the ranger houses, etc and will shed snow like a champion.
The interior is all warm wood with one wall offering lots of views of the mountain, along with binocs to get close up views.
We hiked around the Paradise area checking out our favoite nooks for views and then headed out to Myrtle Falls/Edith Creek Basin. Basically putzed around and just enjoyed the weather.
Ford and I stopped on the way down for lunch at Copper Creek Inn, which is located just outside of Ashford, Wa and the Nisqually Entrance to the park. Ford was begging me for a bowl of their (rightly so) famous beef stew all the way down the mountain 😛 I love stopping there. It is cozy and warm with really good food. The staff is always nice as well. The cool thing was one of the waitress had gone mushroom picking on her free time and had a huge spread of them. The chef was going over them with her ID’ing them. It was a cool conversation to spy on. And honestly, if you ever get to Rainier and are heading by, stop in! You will love Copper Creek!
It was a nice morning out. Just downright gorgeous as well!
I go from hike after hike to…..hiking corn maze after corn maze 😛 Ah well. ford and I still had a lot of fun this afternoon. We went pumpkin picking and afterwards checked out the maze. It was a small but well laid out one (and the smaller ones are not tourist traps either at least!)
Afterwards we took a long drive home through the countryside then we went out to dinner – it isn’t often we can have an afternoon to goof off and have mom & kid day!
You would have to be living in a cave or under a large boulder to not notice the truly sad state of the global economy right now. (Of course……at this point, living in said cave might be nice at times to get away from the media shouting constantly how the end of world is fast approaching….)
If you look at it in a different way though…..hiking is still something we can enjoy, even when the economy is in the can. If you have gear that is serviceable all you need is a little planning, time and a few dollars for food. Sure, fancy gear is nice, I won’t deny it – but you don’t need it in most cases. Make your own meals at home and you can eat like royalty on a pauper’s income.If your shoes don’t leak, your pack fits…then go!
Both Washington Trails Magazine and Backpacker Magazine did articles this past summer on getting around without a car – they were aimed at high fuel prices – but lets say you want to go hiking, to just get out but you can’t afford to spend $20-80 for a tank of gas due to lack of cash? Well…..you could get crazy and take the bus for a couple dollars if you live in a outdoorsy area (such as say California, parts of Colorado, Seattle, Portland, etc).
Sure you might not get a super cool vacation but you will get outside and you will get to hike. Usually in the late fall/winter/early spring we do a lot of hiking in the Issaquah Alps, the lowland foothills of the Cascades near us. I figure if the economy goes even further in the tank….well…we can always start biking to the trails. Or walk more rail to trails in the lowlands. America could become a country of skinny people again 😉
At least it is something to think about.