1. Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Route: Corbett, Oregon to Mt. Rainier National Park: 2.5 hours

On the way to Mt. Rainier, it was necessary to make a slight detour to indulge ourselves with the tender carnitas at our favorite restaurant in Centralia, Washington: La Tarasca

Bellies full, we headed to Mt. Rainier’s Nisqually gate and drove through Cougar Rock campground to look for a site. The campsites were small and without privacy so we drove on to Ohanapecosh campground and settled in to site F15. We ended up next to a bathroom (not a deal breaker) with a background of a burbling spring, surrounded by giants and their noisy inhabitants.

Sweet potato breakfast burritos

Sweet potato breakfast burritos

We went on two hikes: one easy, one harder. The first was to the Grove of the Patriarchs. We’d recommend this hike to everyone, young and old. It is a flat, easy 1.5 mile stroll through the giant hemlocks, Douglas firs and cedars. Indi loved the suspension bridge.

One at a time!

The second hike on the second day was the Skyline Trail Loop. This is a 5.5 mile loop with an optional shortcut (Golden Gate switchback) that will still give you four miles of glaciers, marmots (we saw five!), and views of the majestic 14,410 foot mountain known as “Tahoma” to the tribes native to this area. We’d recommend this hike to those who are in decent shape and don’t mind an elevation gain of 1700 feet. Bring snacks and water (there is water on the trail if you’d rather filter as you need it) and there is an awesome bathroom halfway through the hike at Panorama Point!

We headed from Mt. Rainier to Winthrop, WA–a 4 hour, 45 minute drive–to see our dear friend Catie Barber, who we played and worked with in Warsaw, Poland.

Relaxing with Catie on Patterson Lake

Relaxing with Catie on Patterson Lake


Map of Mt. Rainier