Traveling up I-5 from Portland was ok… There’s not much to see and eventually pulled off to rest, and combat the drowsiness that started to kick in. I ended up on smaller highway running parallel to 1-5 and then eventually found myself on Highway 12. This scenic highway ran parallel to the Riffe River, and created some much needed variation in the drive. After some pit stops at the Mossy Point Dam and other scenic sites, I eventually found myself off a forest road for some dispersed camping about 40 miles from Mt. Rainier. After battling the tetris game of belonging in my car, and the large termite which tormented me after sneaking in through a crack in the window, I drifted off to sleep.
Being in the mountains, when I woke up I had no cell service, I went back to the highway and found the library of Packtown, WA, where I jumped on the wifi in the parking lot and then made my way up to Mt. Rainier.
First National Park!
It was a nice drive up through the North Cascade Mountain Range, and eventually I crested through the fog and clouds into the visitor parking lot in Paradise. As a note for future endeavors, just because a sign says parking, doesn’t mean you have to park there, in fact there may even be parking a half mile closer right at the visitor center, which could be a better option…
It was weird hiking up steep asphalt for the first part of the trail, I mean this was supposed to be a scenic adventure into the wilderness, but then transformed into more rugged terrain as I got closer. The mountain top was just peeking out through the clouds every once and a while, and although the views of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens were blocked by a hazy fog, every once and a while you got glimpses of meadows and glaciated terrain.
Hiking and taking in the cold, foggy, and thin atmosphere of the alpine scenery is something breathtaking; I’ve grown to appreciate the foggy redwoods or ocean bluffs of Santa Cruz, but this was something else, although sometimes with less life than sea level, still beautiful.