Mt. Rainier National Park

The wonder of our National Parks never ceases to amaze me. Our family vacation to Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Parks was so special. Getting away from the worries of the pandemic was just what the doctor ordered.

Mt. Rainier National Park

Grove of the Patriarchs at Mt. Rainier National Park

We spent one full day in Mt. Rainier. The first day was just getting there after flying into Seattle. Our one full day was packed with several important places to visit. We saw the gorgeous Naruda and Christine Falls and hiked the Grove of the Patriarchs trail. This trail follows the Ohanapecosh River which includes 1000-year old trees. Some are over 300 feet tall! There is also a very cool suspension bridge that crosses the river.

Of course Mt. Rainier is the star of the show at this National Park but it’s doesn’t present itself very often because of the clouds. We saw peeks of it on the first day but got lucky the morning we left. This snow-covered volcano is a sight to see!

One cool tidbit – We had dinner at the Wild Berry Restaurant in Ashford, WA and ended up meeting the owner who is the Guinness Book of World Records Holder for the fastest climb to Mt. Everest. He was so nice and answered all our crazy questions.

While in Mt. Rainier, we stayed at the National Park Inn. It was very clean and we liked the location in the park. The big downside was that it was extremely small with no wifi. (There was nowhere to sit!) I’m fine with no wifi but the fact that we were on top of each other was not fun. Michael and I loved having our coffee in morning on their huge porch.

National Park Inn at Mt. Rainier National Park

Olympic National Park

After two days in Mt. Rainier, we headed to Olympic National Park. Our first stop was Ruby Beach which is on the Pacific Coast side of the park. There were huge rock formations, driftwoods structures, and tide pools. We went during the day but have heard that this place is gorgeous at sunset.

Ruby Beach at Olympic National Park

Our first full day we did the Hurricane Hill trail which has the best view of the Puget Sound and Olympic mountains. Besides the view, I loved the beautiful wildflowers. Later we hiked to a waterfall called Marymere Falls which was near where we stayed while at Olympic National Park. (More of this amazing place later.)

Wildflowers on the Hurricane Hill Trail in Olympic National Park.

On our second full day, we headed to the Hoh Rain Forest which makes you feel like you are in a whole different world. It felt like we were in the movie “Return of the Jedi” with all the mosses, ferns, and giant trees. While we on the Hoh River Trail we had the most amazing run-in with a black bear. Yes, a black bear! He crossed over our path and we stayed calm while it ate its way to the river. Yes, I almost crapped my pants but this bear didn’t really notice us. It was an experience of a lifetime! We hiked until we reached a waterfall at about 3 miles but who cares about that after our bear sighting. 🙂 Check out the video that I filmed of the bear below.

After seeing the Hoh Rain Forest, we headed over to the Sol Duc area of the park to see Sol Duc Falls. I was grateful that it was a short hike to see the stunning double rainbows that came out of the mist of this breathtaking waterfall.

Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park

While we were in ONP, we stayed at Lake Crescent Lodge. This place was incredible! We had a 2 room cabin that had stunning views of this clear water lake. Our porch had two rocking chairs and having my coffee there every morning was such a treat. The cabin had plenty of room and we loved the friendly staff. I would love to stay here again because it was so peaceful and relaxing. What a blessing to witness nature in this setting.

View of Lake Crescent from Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park.

The last part of our trip was in the San Juan Islands which I will possibly share in another post. Stay tuned!

Traveling During a Pandemic

We were so grateful to get away from home but it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Wearing our masks almost everywhere we went in public was new and not always fun. Finding places to eat at was an adventure. Washington state just started Phase 3 of reopening so many restaurants didn’t offer dine-in services. Several times we drove a half hour away to have a meal and sometimes we just ate out of plastic containers where we were staying. I am grateful that I was afforded the luxury to travel so these inconveniences were small potatoes. I am ready for the next adventure!

Good to be back and have a wonderful day! XO

Linking up with the Style Six Linkup, Doused in Pink, and Jersey Girl Texan Heart.