Visiting Mt. Rainier National Park! – VanLife

Last week was one hell of an adventure! As I’ve been working my way around the Pacific Northwest I finally was able to visit one of my favorite mountains in the world, Mt. Rainier National Park. Mt. Rainier holds a very special place in my heart because when I first moved to Washington state when I was in the military it had been the first mountain I had ever laid eyes on in real life. Being born and raised in Southern California I didn’t have much experience around mountains, let alone one of that size! I was instantly fascinated with this Super Volcano! Mt. Rainier is one of the biggest Super volcanoes on the North America continent and in fact it is rated as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its large amounts of glaciers that surround the peak. Scientists believe that if Mt. Rainier were to erupt it could launch shards of ice and rock as far as 180 miles from the Volcano! That’s insane! Well thats enough information about the mountain, now let me tell you about the crazy time I had exploring this national park last week!

(If you’d like to know more about Mt. Rainier, hikes at Mt. Rainier, and other helpful information be on the lookout for my “Mt. Rainier travel guide” that will be posted soon!)

Heading to Mt. Rainier was definitely in the plans, but I hadn’t planned on visiting for a few more weeks! As I was driving out of the Olympic National Park I slowly started receiving my text messages and unread phone calls after not having service for three days. Upon all the phone calls I had a few missed from my buddy Colby, who I served in the Army with. As soon as we got to talking he told me that he had the next few days off and that he wanted to adventure! Without putting to much thought into it I had him meet me at a Wal-Mart within the hour and we were off to Mt. Rainier! Our first stop on the list was reflection lakes! The name says it all! These two lakes are so incredible and if you catch them in the early mornings or late evenings you will encounter an amazing reflection of Mt. Rainier! Luckily for us we got some pretty okay conditions and we ended up hanging around the lake on hammocks until the last bit of light was gone. Once it got dark we drove over to a pull off on the side of the road and began to cook a nice meal while watching a movie, oh and I can’t forget about the White Claws! Once the movie finished we sat back and enjoyed the beautiful star filled sky until we went to bed. Unfortunately, the following morning we woke up to an incredibly bad storm! It was snowing and raining, which was completely odd especially because it had been so sunny just a few hours prior. After hanging out in the van for a few hours we decided that the weather probably wasn’t going to get better so we left the park and decided to call an end to the trip. Well the trip with Colby. I decided to spend a night in a nearby city until the storm passed through and two days later I was right back to exploring this beautiful place!

When I entered back into Mt. Rainier I ended up entering through the Sunrise area, which is located on the North Entrance of the park. When I arrived the first place I headed to was the Sunrise visitor center, which is home to a lot of the most popular hikes in the national park. When I arrived I immediately sent it on a hike to Frozen Lake, which is supposedly a very trafficked trail. Unfortunately, there was no one else on the trail and I believe that was because the weather was pretty bad! When I made it to the top where I was supposed to be looking at the lake, I couldn’t see absolutely anything! The lake was completely socked in! After letting the disappointment kick in a bit, I decided to head back down to the parking lot to make some dinner and called it a night!

The following morning at 4:30 am I met up in the parking lot with my friend Danny, who is also a photographer based out of the Pacific Northwest, that morning was actually my first time ever meeting Danny in person, as we had been friends on Instagram for quite sometime. After introducing ourselves the right way, we turned on our head lamps and started walking into the darkness in front of us. The trail we decided to take was the Burroughs Mountain trail. This hike had to have been one of the most amazing hikes I’ve ever done. It was challenging, but so rewarding. As the sun started to surface we were greeted by some insane views of Mt. Rainier! Never had I been so close to this mountain before. Once we finally made it to the ridge where the trail ended, we were greeted by some insane views of the many glaciers that are located on this mountain! We also got some amazing views of the whole park and it’s surrounding rivers. While we were on the ridge it was extremely cold because of the high wind, so we took a couple of photos and decided to head on back to the van. After about 3 hours we finally made it back and immediately got to cooking breakfast and of course the coffee! After relaxing and letting our feet breathe a bit, we decided that it would be best to head down to Paradise, which is located on the opposite side of the park because that is where our sunset hike was going to be taking place. When we arrived to Paradise we went back to Reflection Lakes to hang out for a few hours before taking off on another amazing hike! Unfortunately, that hike never came around! My van started to make really bad noises so Danny and I decided that the best thing to do was to leave the park and get the van checked out instead of being stuck in the park through the dark. Thankfully, though we missed a hike, my van ended up being okay and the noise that I was hearing was simply a rock that had managed to get stuck in my rotor. Huge relief on my part! 😅 I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my trip to Mt. Rainier! Make sure to give my blog a follow, as I will be creating a Mt. Rainier travel guide with all the information you need to make your visit incredible!

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