Washington State Trip

Last weekend, Pencilneck shut down for a much-deserved, but all-too-quick break. Jeff went off to Alberta to visit some family. I, along with Leah, headed down to Seattle, where we met up with my brother, Stuart, before heading inland to the Mt. Rainier/Mt. St. Helens area. We stayed in a little town called Packwood, which was ideally situated about midway between the two peaks.

Photos of the trip are now online, should you care, or read on. So Friday, which was blazingly hot & sunny, we went down to Mt. St. Helens. Of course, me being me, I forgot to check the gas level before we entered the park. With the empty light on, we turned around at Bear Meadows, about 30 miles in, to go back and get gas. Leah and I left Stuart there, who took advantage of the view & weather to settle in and do some reading in the idyllic setting.

The gas crisis resolved, we headed down to the lookout, and went for a hike. This being a hike with my brother, it wouldn’t have been complete without an off-trail adventure. So about half-way in, we veered right, while the trail veered left, and struck out across the pumice & ash strewn landscape, making a circuit of a little lead-up hill. It was fun, but hot. I managed to get horribly burned on the back of my neck, as I guess the camera strap rubbed off my sunscreen. Oh well.

The next day was as different as night from day. It was cool & overcast, and seemed sure to rain. So we decided to head to Mt. Rainier, and specifically to Paradise, the inn nestled high on the flanks, near the Nisqually glacier. We drove the windy road up into the clouds, then through the clouds, to the inn. From there, we struck out upon the Skyline Trail, which promised panoramic views of the glacier, as well as the surrounding mountains. Which, in those few times the clouds cleared, it did.

What was most fantastic was how amazing the alpine meadow we were walking through was. Essentially, it was in full bloom, and there numerous hues and shades as we hiked. I also saw a hoary marmot, which was cool, and we also slipped & slid across a mini-glacier at one point, for which we were not even remoted equipped. My feet got wet, but it was all good.

I had much fun on the weekend; it’s always excellent to see my brother. Now, sadly, it’s back to the grind.