A Few Days at a Volcano-Top Observatory

Lindsay and I took a couple days and went to Paradise (I'm not trying to be cute - that is literally the name of the location), which is located on Mount Rainier. We've been to Rainier a few times in the past, but this was the first time we ever stayed overnight there.

The trip, obviously, was breathtaking. I don't think we could have chosen a better time to visit, either. Because we're experiencing a warm summer in the Pacific Northwest, the roads and trails were clear earlier than usual, meaning the area wasn't quite as busy as it could have been. In addition, we got two beautiful, clear days.

We did two hikes, plus a short walk. The first hike, which I foolishly thought was going to be easy, was to Comet Falls. It wasn't that far, but the elevation gain was intense. But the falls were worth it:

We were able to walk right up to the falls into the spray, which was a nice break from the heat.

We stayed overnight at the Paradise Inn. The rooms were perhaps a tad reminiscent of a college dorm, but that's part of the charm. Also, it's part of the reason you can stay on Rainier without spending an exorbitant amount of money.

On Friday, we did the Skyline loop, which is best described as a trail traversing a ridge offering you views of Mount Rainier on one side and an overlook of southern Washington on the other. We could see Mount Adams, Mount St. Helen's, and even Mount Hood from the trail (Hood was too faint to appear in the photos I took, but trust me: it was between the other two).

We're exhausted from all the hiking, but it's an understatement to say it was worth it. This has been an absolutely wonderful couple of days. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go collapse into bed.

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