Mt Rainier is a large, extinct, volcano visible from much of Washington State roads.
It towers over the southeast skyline from Seattle and is the background picture on
our license plates. It is visible from near our house showing up on the skyline beyond
Mt. St. Helens.
For the ride we avoid the direct route up Interstate 5 and turn right on US 12. This
leads one about 50 miles from the west side of Mt. St. Helens. A much more interesting
route is to take the county roads leading to the Forest Service roads the pass the
east side of Mt. St. Helens. This route starts along the same roads as a Wednesday
Ride but continues north where we turned south before. Eventually we come out on
US 12, have lunch and shortly later enter the Mt. Rainier National Park. Entry is
free with my federal senior card.
We travel along the side of the lesser mountains and come around a curve with this
view ahead of Mt. Rainier.
Whereas Mt. St. Helens has a flat top from the 1980 eruption Mt. Rainier is still
whole and rounded.
Other volcanoes visible from Vancouver, with pointed tops, are Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson
The road doesn’t always go along the side of the mountain, sometimes it goes through.
We arrive at our campsite and set up for dinner. Like many federal campgrounds we
have no hookups. There is a toilet building over that way and a water faucet this
But without hookups, especially electricity, there are no lights to blur the stars
There are two major resorts in the Park. We are camped on the south side of the mountain
near Paradise. The next day we head toward Sunrise on the northeast side. It is about
an 80 mile run through the forests and along the mountain sides. If you look close
you can see our road making a left pointing “<” on the far hillside.
Today we have fluffy clouds floating around the mountain giving us a constantly changing
view of her beauty.
On the return trip we stop at a trail that leads us to a grove of huge Red Cedar
trees that have survived fire, flood and man. The one mile round trip is easy and
cool. The day has been warm, particularly inside our riding gear.
We return to the south side and make the side trip up to the Paradise Lodge. We have
plans for a late lunch in the restaurant. But it turns out the restaurant is not
constantly open. It sets up for meals and then closes in between to clean and get
ready for the next meal.
So we go to the tiny cafe, get into the crowded line with the others and buy two,
pre-made, sandwiches, one bag of chips and two beers for just over $35. We take it
onto the patio and mumble about the price. In contrast, I would not want to have
the delivery route that brings the food here. The road is great on a motorcycle but
in a truck it would be a tough job.
On the left is a small waterfall that leads to a larger one just a it disappears
from the photo.
An arched stone bridge, visible at left, leads to a trail the goes to the bottom
for the photo on the right.
The climb back up was tiring what with the riding gear and the elevation both making
All over the Park it is spring like weather and the flowers are in bloom!
On the third morning we packed up and headed back towards home. This time we took
the simple route. Straight west to I-5 and then south to home.
Our next plan is the Eclipse of the sun in August. We plan to be in the center of
Oregon near the town of Bend.