*Note: Yes, I’m going out of order. I was just so excited to share these photos that I skipped a few posts ahead… I’ll be posting California, Oregon, and western Washington shortly.
We made a detour to Mt. Rainier between Olympic National Park and Seattle, and we’re so glad we did! It was a few hours out of our way, but the park was well worth a stop. We had perfect weather, the wildflowers were in bloom, and there weren’t too many people crowding the trails. We started at the Paradise Inn and Jackson Visitor Center, hiking the Skyline Trail out to Panorama Point. The wildflowers were in full bloom at lower elevations of the trail, and the colors against the stark white of the mountain was stunning.
Check out the people waaaaay at the bottom for scale.
This might be my favorite photo of myself ever… Thanks, Jake! The rounded, snowy, phantom peak off in the distance is Mount Adams.
We also hiked the Summerland Trail, which we’d heard was stunning. It wasn’t quite as impressive as Skyline, but perhaps we were a bit too late in the season for the wildflowers to be in bloom on that section.
We camped for free on a forest road just outside of the park (thanks to www.freecampsites.net), and headed to Seattle the following day. We took a walking tour, grabbed lunch at Pike Place, and then split up for the afternoon. As I’d already been up the Space Needle, I headed over to Theo Chocolates in Fremont while Jake toured the Space Needle and Chihuly. I’d highly recommend the Theo factory tour ($10), as my guide was very knowledgeable and went through the whole process, from sourcing to distribution. I got to see the different parts of the factory and commercial kitchen, ate numerous free samples of chocolate, plus there’s a discount on anything you buy in the store after the tour. Needless to say, I bought way too much chocolate (hey, I’ll work it off backpacking, right?). I went to pick up Jake, and we headed to our next destination, North Cascades National Park.
We did a long day hike up to the Cascade Pass and Sahale Glacier. It was a long drive on unpaved roads and quite a bit of elevation, but the views were pretty darn cool. You could see the Cascade Range in all directions.
We also completed the Devils Dome Loop, a very challenging 42 miles circling around Jack Mountain. This backpack was one of the toughest I’ve done, with thousands of feet of elevation change every day. It also rained for 2 of the 4 days, so not my favorite hike ever… We did get some phenomenal views on day 3, though.
After North Cascades, we camped in forest land, and then headed up towards Canada!