The first time I was in Seattle last May, I had the feeling that Mount Rainier was watching me. Wherever I went, it was always there, whether by its absence, when the clouds covered it or by its magnificent presence when the sun was shining. I told my friend it must be an ancestral thing, I felt completely drawn to Rainier, perhaps because it reminded me of my Armenian ancestors` sacred mountain Ararat.
I have never been much of a mountain climber. I am not in the least bit interested in snow, skiing and the like, but there was something about this place. I had to get closer, I had to see it with my own eyes.
When I came back to Seattle in mid August, the first thing I did was go up to Rainier, this was a birthday celebration for someone who really loves mountains, and I jumped at the opportunity to get close to the giant, to this ubiquitous mountain that was to me the quintessential Seattle, the spirit of this part of the world.
The drive to the entrance of Mount Rainier National Park was not long. They said it´d be about two hours, but it seemed like much less. We stopped to get some berries, a trail mix, candied ginger, and Fiji water (the only water I can drink in America), to get us through the day. I put on my cute new weatherproof jacket purchased specially for the occasion and some comfortable leather boots and I was all set.
The parking lot was rather full, and it would have been an utter disappointment to have to leave because no parking was available, but after a few demoralized turns we succeeded in finding a spot.
We didn´t get to the top, because I didn´t have proper shoes to walk on the snow, but we got extremely close. The hike uphill was rather steep, but nothing a somewhat fit individual cannot handle with a few stops along the way. There are many signs along the different path, we were looking for Paradise, then the Sky trail or viceversa, but basically following our instincts and trying to get closer to the dreamlike peaks and the waterfalls that adorned the glacier walls.
There are numerous glaciers around Rainier, and one of my favorite moments was drinking water from a stream coming down from the mountains. It tasted like heaven. It reminded me of drinking mountain water at Kegart, a church carved out of the stone in Armenia, more than 20 years ago.
It is very hard to describe such beauty, the beauty that I saw on getting so close to the top of Mount Rainier, thus, I will just add some pictures of our trip. The plan is to go back with my brand new snow-ready shoes before the roads close. This time we really want to get to the top. I will keep you all posted. Wish me luck!