28 July 2006 Friday

We broke camp and stopped briefly at a grocery store for a couple of thingsbefore heading into Mount Rainier NationalPark.  We started at the Longmire Visitor Center, had lunch and caughtthe free shuttle bus to ParadiseVisitor Center at the base of the great mountain.  

Paradise truly is… Paradise!  We hiked the 5.2 mile Skyline Trail overlookingthe Nasqually Glacier and lots of waterfalls.  The alpine meadows are coveredin more wildflowers than you can imagine!!  They have a very short growingseason here and we were lucky enough to catch them blooming.  Words cannotbegin to describe the outrageously beautiful colors of wildflowers set againstthe background of the deep green trees and the pure snow caps. The peak ofRainier is in the clouds most of the time, but near the uppermost point of ourhike, the clouds blew away and we could see the beautiful peak for a couple ofminutes.  Wow!  This is one gorgeous mountain!  We met another coupleat Panorama Point, Gary and Michelle from Seattle, and chatted for aminute.  We continued our loop hike and saw more beautiful waterfalls andwildflowers.  We had to hurry towards the end of our hike to catch theshuttle bus back to Longmire and our truck by 7:15pm.  

We left the park to find a restaurant for dinner.  One place we wentinto but assumed it was closed when no one acknowledged us.  As we werewalking back out to the truck, we asked someone coming out if they knew ofanother restaurant that might be opened.  He told us that it was only a fewminutes past closing and they would serve us here.  We told him that he hadbeen there a few minutes and no one came to seat us.  He’s the owner of therestaurant and he assured us that we WOULD be served!  The place was alittle more expensive than we were intending, but the food was great and weneeded a good meal.  

We found a camp spot next to the Nasqually river for the night.

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