I visited Mount Rainier National Park this past weekend with fellow Cornellians Rachel, Dustin and Eric. Of all the places in the US that I've visited in my short and relatively uneventful life, Mount Rainier ranks just behind Lake Tahoe in terms of sheer natural beauty. The park is two hours away by car from Seattle. Once there, it took another forty minutes to drive to Paradise, which houses a visitor center and a few trails for casual hikers.
The hiking was thus much easier than the grueling five hour hike in Big Basin last week. As a result, I was able to take in more of the stunning views.
For most of the day, Mount Rainier itself experienced pretty heavy cloud cover.
There was only about a ten minute window during which I was able to get a relatively cloud-free shot.
Here's a close up of the cloud covered mountain. It's pretty big.
Glaciers cover the sides of Mount Rainier, picking up dirt as they slowly crawl along. Here we find Eric, Dustin and Rachel contemplating how ugly glaciers look in real life. Who woulda thunk that glaciers actually take the dirt with them! Aren't they supposed to be pure hydro goodness?
As mentioned previously, the scenery was at times simply stunning.
I even managed to snag a few pictures of the local wildlife.
But of course, the real wild life were the human invaders.
Dustin was the wildest one of all.
My fear of heights caused me some problems every once in a while. I had to go off trail and lean out a steep drop to take some of the photos. But the payoff made it well worth the effort.
In conclusion, visiting Mount Rainier is a must-do for anyone spending the summer in the Seattle area. I can't believe I waited until my third internship at Microsoft before finally managing to haul my lazy ass out of my office.