On the Flanks of Mt. Rainier

Tammy and I have had a busy schedule these past couple of months! Turns out, our kids have been busy too! They’ve managed to deliver us four Grand babies in six weeks! Most of our kids live in Texas and we get to see the Grandies often but we have one rebel child and his wife living in California so Tammy and I just had to head West to see our newest grandson, Sloan. What a charmer he is. We had alot of fun with his older brother Evan too. We spent several days enjoying our kids and grandkids and detoured back to Texas via Seattle.

We arrived in Seattle the day before Independence Day; my luggage however, arrived on Independence evening! Thankfully, Tammy’s luggage made it to Seattle; mine took a trip to Aspen – Airport code (ASE) versus Seattle’s (SEA). After a quick trip to the mall, we spent the 4th in downtown Seattle at all the typical must-sees – Pike’s Place Fish Market and REI!

REI was not in the plan but an error on my part (leaving our trekking poles at home) meant we took advantage of REI’s rental department and for around $20 rented two pair of poles. Our knees would say probably the best $20 spent!

The next day we decided to head to Crystal Lakes, on the NE flank of Mount Rainer. It’s a 6 mile round trip with 2600 feet of elevation gain! It was definitely a hill for these climbers. I think we have been eating too much cake lately. The trail is well used and easy to follow and after three miles uphill you can set a spell and take it the mountain beauty. We rested awhile at Lower Crystal Lake where there are only two campsites and a bent over bear pole.

On the way up the trail, you get some spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. For those of you who, like me, are geologically inclined, the USGS calls Mt. Rainier  one of our Nation’s most dangerous volcanoes. It’s an active volcano at rest, having last erupted in 1895. Capped by snow and having 25 glaciers that would melt during an eruption, it would produce torrents of meltwater that would pick up boulders and mud in a soupy slurry called “lahars” that can flow at over 20 mph and have known to be almost 500 feet deep! How cool is that! Geologically speaking that is. Beautiful and dangerous – God is quite the craftsman.

Mt. Rainer
Gorgeous view of Mt. Rainer


We continued on to Crystal Lake marching ever upwards on switchbacks carved through the cool shade of the tall pines. What a respite from the heat and humidity of Houston. We soaked in the beautiful weather, the smells of summer cedar and pine and the quietness of the dark forest.

It ended up being a respectful hike for a couple of let’s say, “experienced” hikers. We chilled at the lake and devoured a Picky bar, taking in the scenery and as we kissed on the shores of Crystal Lake, I felt young and alive and thankful.

Crystal Lake
Lower Crystal Lake Mt. Rainier National Park, WA

What a day! Our knees thanked us when we got back down to the little log bridge at the start of the trail. We have been blessed to be able to spend time in the outdoors, challenging ourselves and hopefully staying young enough to keep up with all these grandies!

As Chief Seattle said, “This we know. The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth. All things are connected, like the blood that unites one family. Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the children of the Earth. We do not weave the web of life; we are only a strand of it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”  That’s something  we think about when we hold these precious little creatures in our arms!

Tammy at the trailhead
Tammy at the Trailhead

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