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Seattle/Olympic/Rainier Trip Report

Day 8 of 9

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Friday, September 17th
Paradise Skyline Loop

It was a balmy 54 degrees inside the tent in the morning, but just 43 degrees outside. After breakfast and hot chocolate, we started driving toward Paradise. We took the short scenic detour. It provides nice views of Mt. Rainier. I also noted that it would make a nice place for a sunset picture.

Mt. Rainier from the scenic turnout

It was another sunny day as we pulled into the Paradise visitor center. It's an impressive round building set at the base of Mt. Rainier, over 9000 feet below the summit. I confirmed with the ranger that all the trails I wanted to do were in good condition, got some more maps, and we were on our way.

The Paradise Inn is just a few hundred yards from the visitor center. It's also next to the mountain guide building. It's the starting point for many attempts on Mt. Rainier's summit. They hike to Camp Muir 5000 feet up, then finish the remaining 4000 feet the next day and return all the way back to Paradise.

We, on the other hand, were simply doing the popular Skyline Loop trail.

After the hike we visited the Paradise visitor center cafeteria for ice cream. Then we drove to Narada Falls where Jean took a nap while I oohed and ahhed and took pictures of sunlit Narada Falls, a rainbow gracing its end.

Narada Falls

Cascade above Narada Falls

I was a little worried about running out of fuel. There was probably still enough fuel left for dinner, but I wasn't sure about breakfast. So we stopped in Longmire and got some Camping Gaz fuel (I'd brought my other stove as a backup in case they didn't have PowerMax fuel). Longmire is the site of the National Park Inn, and residents of the inn were enjoying the afternoon on the porch, reading or just enjoying the view.

Back at our campsite, we had a dinner of Thai noodles, rice, and tuna. Afterwards, we drove to the scenic spot where I'd wanted to take sunset pictures. Unfortunately, we were a little late. There was still some light shining on the top of Mt. Rainier, but even that disappeared in a couple minutes. Next time, I'll have to check the sunset times beforehand and make sure I arrive sufficiently early.

Last rays of light shining on Mt. Rainier

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