Sunday, August 20, 2006

Home again

We had a wonderful time at Mt. Rainier - we always do. Just in case anyone wonders - the national park is a three-hour drive from our home. We've been camping there since our kids were small. The last few years we've gone every year.

Mt. Rainier National Park is one of our older national parks. The volcano is merely dormant - not extinct - and will probably erupt again in the next 100 to 200 years. It is 14,411 feet high, and is one of the most climbed mountains in the United States. It offers many of the same challenges that peaks in Asia do, so many climbing parties train here before tackling Mt. Everest, K-2, and others of the world's tallest peaks. If you are interested in reading more, here is the official website. The mountain is easily visible from most of Seattle where I grew up, and we often told the weather by saying "the mountain is out today".

I didn't take nearly as many pictures this year as I have in past years. Our trip was shorter and we were past the best part of the wildflower season. The only flower we saw in any quantities was Queen Anne's Lace. Friday was our hiking day, and we wanted to do a hike we'd never done before, so we climbed to Bench and Snow Lakes. This trail took us away from Mt. Rainier and toward the Tatoosh range. The trail was rated "moderate" so I figured I could do it even though I'm pretty out of shape. It had only a 700 ft. elevation gain, so I figured it wouldn't be bad at all. What the map DIDN'T say is that there was a lot of going up and down ridges to gain that 700 ft. - so a lot more uphill climbing than I expected, both going in and coming out. The trail was very dusty and had lots of log steps on the trail - very challenging for my short legs. By the end of the hike my knees and feet were aching a lot, so I really loafed the rest of the day. Saturday we walked around the campground a lot but that was it - no more long hikes on this trip.

I didn't do any quilting at all, even though I took some appliqué with me. I started reading The Wedding Ring and was totally involved with the characters, so I sat in my camp chair and read all afternoon on Friday and a lot of Saturday. I loved it so much I started Endless Chain as soon as I finished the first book, and I finished that one also. By then it was Saturday evening and too dark to stitch. Fred and I spent evenings playing Yatzee, dominoes and Phase 10. It was a very relaxing trip. Weather was wonderful - almost too warm in the daytime but cooling to high 50's at night. Fall is obviously on it's way!

Blogger is letting me post only 3 pictures, so I'll post a few more tomorrow. From top to bottom - sign at trailhead, Bench Lake, Snow Lake.


Susan said...

Fabulous pictures! Beautiful country. What a nice little holiday. Time to read!

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

What a beautiful place. When I saw the first photo I thought that must be your house, and I was thinking jealous thoughts! That look of a cold climate - I would love to live somewhere like that. But then the grass is always greener, isn't it?

Quilts And Pieces said...

Oh I love the picture of Snow Lake! Well I loved them all, but Snow Lake is gorgeous!

Glad you liked Wedding Ring and Endless Chain! Wait till you read Lover's Knot! It gets even better!

Sweet P said...

What a beautiful place to spend a few quiet days. Thanks for sharing.

EileenKNY said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I've never been to the PNW, it's one of the areas I'd love to visit-lots of LAers there.
I loved Wedding Ring too. I just wish the really good books were a lot longer. I have to get Endless Chain and Lovers Knot. I've also looked into some of her other series.