Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day Twenty-Seven, Part 2: Mt. Rainier...or Mt. Rain-i-er??

We went to Mt. Rainier today. A few interesting facts, since apparently we are all about the trivia today! It is the fifth-oldest National Park, is both a volcano and has glaciers, and the youngest person to climb to the summit was only 13 (it was a girl. Just saying.). As we were driving, it was kind of cloudy, so it made it difficult to see the peak. We figured that was pretty much our luck for the parks we've visited so far. We left around 10:00. There's not really too much in between here and there, except for a few towns. There was one stretch of road in which the stoplights don't flow nicely, and it took quite a while to get through that strip. We finally did, and got to the area surrounding the park. There are signs that say that gas is unavailable in the park, and since we didn't think we would be driving around the park a lot, we decided not to stop. We kept going and got to the park at around 12:00 and spent a few minutes looking at the map. We were trying to figure out how far it was in between the points of interest. Since we didn't stop to get gas, we didn't want to get too far in the park and get stuck. We agreed on driving a little farther into the park and taking a trail or two. The first trail we took was around a mile long. It was nice and easy, with a slight uphill. A lot of the walk looked like all of the other parks we've been to, especially the ones out here. So, after deciding to take the date off my pictures, they are all going to look the same and be hard to remember which is which. We kept walking and taking pictures, and finally we came to another trail-head. This one was called Carter Falls Trail-head. Since we've seen a whole bunch of other falls, we decided to take this trail. It was so much cooler than the other one. In order to get to the other side of the trail, we had to cross a bed of rock, and a bridge made from a huge log. The rocks were strewn about because of the glaciers melting and depositing them wherever. It was amazing to see that many rocks in the same area. You can see it in the pictures. It's neat, I promise!
As Robyn said, this state is so cool because around every turn there is something else that amazes you. We trekked through the rocks and along the bridge, and up the hill to the second part of the trail. This one was a 500 ft. hill. With rocks and roots to add to the fun! The first trail took about 30 minutes to complete. This one took an hour and 30 minutes. We also stopped a ton of times for pictures, but this one was obviously a little harder to do. We also saw a ton more people on this trail. We almost got stuck behind the group of old people, but shimmied our way around them. We finally got to the top and were able to see the Falls. They weren't necessarily the best we've seen on the trip, but they were pretty cool. It was neat to see how the water affects the rocks and everything around it.
Our way back was much quicker. It seems that the way back is always quicker. Granted, this was all downhill and there were parts that we ended up running down because we couldn't slow ourselves down. There were two older ladies who snuck up behind us and were running down the trail. They had their hiking sticks and boots on, so they looked a little silly. We lost sight of them, but when we got back to the clearing, there they were, taking a break. Robyn and I had to laugh because we ended up passing them anyway. (Isn't it awkward when someone passes you and then you end up passing them back? I find it awkward when it happens to me. Just wondering...) Our walk back only took an hour or so for the entire trail.
The reason why we chose this title was because our drive out there got us thinking. As we were driving, there were signs with directions (obviously), and it spelled like rainier (weather-wise). We walked through clouds, sun, and then the much-expected rain. So, we were wondering how it was originally said. Just a side note.
We had enough gas to make it out of the park, but it was a little iffy. People here don't know how to drive the speed limit. They either go too fast or too slow. We got stuck behind the slow person. We made it to the only gas station in the area. It was the sketchiest, strangest gas station we've been to yet. It seemed to have been stuck in the 60's. It probably was. I think that's when they stopped selling gas in the park, so it would make sense! After 5 minutes of Robyn fighting with the pump to start it, all of a sudden there is this rumbling. I thought the car was going to blow up, but apparently that's just the noise the pump makes when it's on. It was also $4.09 per gallon, which is, by far, the most we've paid all trip. I would think that with their position to the park, they do pretty well for themselves.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped for a late lunch at the Time Out Ale House, across the street. After the long walk today (I find walking more-tiring, and harder sometimes, than running), we monstered through the meal, and the pitcher of beer. Even the waiter said we did a good job! It is now 8:00 here and we are going to watch a few movies before bed. We are planning on heading back into Seattle tomorrow and doing the touristy thing. Very exciting! Until later!

Life is a Highway (Even More Washington Pictures)

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