Dan’s birthday was approaching, and after researching TONS of hot springs with not many left to choose from within a 3-4 hour drive radius that we haven’t been to, Dan suggested Rainier, and I’m all about that life, so we booked it! We decided to take the southern route, stay a night in Yakima, then drive to our destination the next day. The drive through White Pass was gorgeous!
We tried to get in at the Ohanapecosh entrance, but the road to Paradise was closed from there. So we kept around to the entrance at Longmire through the Southwest corner of the park, which was super convenient since our hotel was in Ashford! So glad we got there a day early, because Saturday was a clear sunny day and we got to see Rainier!
The name of the hotel we stayed at was Whittaker’s Bunkhouse, this hotel was adorable and they had a rental shop, thank God, because the park requires chains to be in your vehicle November through May, so we rented them there for $15. Next door to that is Whittaker’s Mountaineering, sort of a mini REI 🙂
(Took this one from the web)
This hotel was nothing fancy, our room didn’t even have a t.v. which was actually really nice– there’s nothing worse than staying up all night when you plan a hike at the crack– The cool thing about this hotel is that it is a family run business, started by the Whittaker family. Jim Whittaker was the first American to summit Mt. Everest back in May 1963, and has climbed to the summit of Rainier 80+ times! He and his brother Lou did more climbing excursions than they can probably count, and Jim’s son Leif Whittaker went on to climb Everest twice! The coffee shop at the hotel was not only adorable, but they carry books written by Jim and Leif!
So of course we had to get the books! Well, I miiiigggghhhttt have had to talk Dan into buying the hardbacks over getting the electronic version for his Nuk 😉 I’m kind of old fashioned like that, also, then we can swap 🙂
The next morning we had to wake up super early in order to give us enough time to snowshoe and drive home. Honestly I love mornings though! So we started our journey!
On the drive in we passed Christine Falls! So of course, had to stop and get a pic for my Mom, Christine! It’s hard to see, but there is a little waterfall back in there.
First stop was the Longmire visitor’s center, we wanted to check conditions and ask the ranger’s about the best route for our skill level and time allotment. So we decided to go with the route to Reflection Lake. They had this HUGE Douglas Fir tree that had been cut down back in the early 1900’s, by a local paper company. All the logging in the area was actually kind of sad. Some of the trees we saw reminded me of driving through the sequoia forest! Soooo Big!
The lodge at the Paradise trailhead was beautiful!
This was our planned route, but we ended up taking a little longer route up and around, but the scenery was way worth it! Our hike ended up being about 6 miles!
We hiked through this avalanche zone! OMG! I could not stop imagining the exact steps I would take in case of an avalanche!
Once we got to Reflection Lake, we stopped to have lunch. I was hoping for some pic-nic tables or something, but nope! So we just sat on some snow haha I know we weren’t really backpacking or camping overnight, but we did want to test out an MRE, just for future knowledge 😉 And since we LOVE Thailand, we got some Thai food.
Dan had the set up, and it worked out great because a hot meal was way better than packing a sandwich at that moment!
Then, of course, you have to have a couple Rainier beers when you’re at Rainier!
The way back was so much harder! It was all uphill! Dan kept telling me “We’re almost there,” but no matter where we were at on the hike, it felt to me like a race spectator telling you “You’re almost there,” when you have already run 12 and you still have a full mile to go! So I told him to stop saying that, in a super sweet way 😉 That was a really tough hike! Hills kill me sometimes! But God, it was so much fun! Sometimes it takes something great to remind you how small you really are in this world ❤
Here are some other random things from our trip…
There were a few art studios in Ashford.
One was legit… A high school teacher owns it.
One was novelty, an older couple runs it and have a story for every piece inside…
This crazy thing is actually a deer’s rear end upside down with eyes and a snout??? ummmm…
And the third one was strange. An elderly lady runs it, who is big into beading and cats… with the smell inside to prove it! I didn’t even get a photo of the $4,500 beaded Mona Lisa, sheesh!
There was a cute restaurant called the Copper Creek Inn where we had dinner. Really good food!
Overall, such a fun trip!! And, even though we had no luck this time, we will get you your “Yakima Nation” hat next time we’re there babe! haha
Have a great week everyone ❤