The second leg of our Pacific Northwest adventure was Mount Rainier National Park. We only had one day in this amazing park, so we headed to the Henry M. Jackson Memorial visitor center where there is a wide variety of hikes.

Mount Rainier wildflowers
Mount Rainier wildflowers

The skies were a bit smokey so we didn’t get that “guidebook” amazing crystalline blue sky, but we were still blown away (the pictures actually show a bluer sky than we experienced).  The views were still MAJESTIC and the wildflowers were beautiful.

Mt Rainier Patty and Kristin
Mt Rainier Patty and Kristin

The hike we ended up doing had some pretty good elevation gain, and it was hot as blue blazes, so we pulled out the hiking poles, stocked up on plenty of water and headed up.  It was tough going and the smoky air and the heat made it especially difficult but we had amazing views, wildflowers galore, and great company.  Not too tough to suffer through.

Rainier Mike and Kathy
Rainier Mike and Kathy

Mt. Rainier also has beautiful old growth forests so our second hike took advantage of the shade (and amazing energy) of those glorious old trees and we enjoyed a break from the hot sun.

Even though I bitched (a lot) about the smoke it was still so amazing.  I will definitely be scheduling another trip to this park when I can spend more time here.

I should mention here that Kristin had meniscus (knee) repair surgery in April and had worked very hard to get in shape for this trip.  She was a trooper, agreeing to some tough hikes, with some significant elevation gain.  I was inspired by her hard work, optimism and  her determination to fully experience these beautiful places.

Mount Rainier National Park Wildflowers
Mount Rainier National Park Wildflowers

What I learned about the Park:

Rainier National Park - Patty and Kristen
Rainier National Park – Patty and Kristen

Mount Rainier is very accessible and easy to get to from Seattle (or drive from Montana).  There are a lot of paved trails in the park if you have limited mobility, which still provide great views of Mt. Rainier without requiring back country excursions.  Always check with the visitor center to get great information about trails that meet your abilities or experience level.

Also, Mount Rainier National Park has a TON of winter activities.  If I can get over Snoqualmie Pass during the winter months, I might try a winter excursion to this park.

What I learned about myself:

pk at Rainier
pk at Rainier

I love hiking and getting to remote places.  I brought my hiking poles on this trip, mainly for Kristin, since she had recent knee surgery.  Perhaps I have been too proud (or stupid)  to use them very often, but I used them on this trip.  The added support they provided was really good for my knees.  Even though currently I have no trouble with my knees (knock on wood) I will more purposefully use them in the future to preserve my ability so I can continue to do what I love, for as long as I live.

Some thoughts for you:

Like Kristin did in preparation for this trip, I encourage you to choose a goal that is currently out of reach and then focus on working hard toward making it happen.

Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park - Kristin
Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park – Kristin

We all have a ton of reasons why we don’t pursue what we love or spend time doing things that make us happy or that are good for us.  There are a ton of good, even valid reasons or obstacles that hold us back, but I have found that if I shift my thoughts to how to make things happen instead of focusing on why they can’t…I find that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

Get out there!!!

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