We had planned on leaving Centralia on Saturday morning, right after Tom and Nick got back from Michigan, but arriving home from the airport on Friday night, we discovered a puddle under the RV. Our leak that couldn’t be found had resurfaced! It looked like we’d be staying a few more days until the technician could get to it on Monday morning!
On Saturday, the boys took apart the underbelly of the RV to locate the source of the leak, which turned out to be the connection between the shower drain and the gray tank, and I got some grocery shopping and the laundry done.
Sunday was more fun . . .
We entered the park at the Nisqually Entrance,
drove up to the Ski Lodge at Paradise (which gets you pretty close to some of the glaciers), and exited through the Stevens Canyon Entrance. It was a beautiful day, with mostly clear skies, and we got lots of great pictures of the mountain!
The Nisqually area has many historic buildings including the National Park Inn, the Longmire Museum – which includes this Vintage Gas Station,
and another old building that is used as the Wilderness Center now – this where backcountry hikers and mountain climbers have to check in.
They also have an old log, dating all the way back to 1293!
The ranger in the museum gave us some tips on interesting hikes and things to see, and as soon as she mentioned hiking in snow up at Paradise, Bryce was ready to get going!
We passed several waterfalls along the way, and they were really flowing!
This was only the top of Narada Falls. There was a lower section of the falls, too, which the boys walked down to see, but Tom and I stayed up above. We liked the way the water twisted as it flowed off the rocks.
As we continued to climb up the mountain toward Paradise, we started to see snow along the side of the road – the boys just had to get out and climb up on it! The road was clear, but we could see pathways and trails that were still completely covered in snow!
We were getting an up-close view of the glaciers from here, too.
We saw signs along the road saying that the parking lot at Paradise was full, but Tom wasn’t going to be put off by that . . . we were circling the parking lot looking for a spot when a Park Ranger asked us if we were looking for a place to park. We said yes and he directed us to a couple of spots at the end of the government vehicles row that nobody ever parks in. Sure enough, he was right and they were open!
We carried our lunch over to a picnic table and enjoyed a picnic with a great view!
There were people snowboarding and skiing down the hills surrounding the mountain . . . it felt like being at a ski resort . . . except it was 70 degrees out!!
The park ranger had told us that there would be a marked trail across the snow, and we could walk out far enough to see the glaciers, but with all the people around it was pretty difficult to find the trail. We walked across the snow for awhile, but it was slippery, even in our hiking boots.
Tom and I were sure glad we had our hiking poles!
We managed to make it back down the hill without falling!
We were surprised at how warm it was up there . . . Nicolas even took off his sweatshirt! We saw lots of people bundled up for winter weather, and several like this guy who were all geared up!
Hard to believe it’s the 2nd day of summer!
From Paradise, we continued through the park towards the Stevens Canyon Entrance. Along the way, we had many more great views of Mt. Rainier and the surrounding valley.
We passed by Reflection Lake, and even though it was still mostly snow-covered, we had a great view of Mt. Rainier’s reflection.
Bryce wanted to feel the icy water, but I wouldn’t let him get any closer!
The park wasn’t crowded at all, so the drive through Stevens Canyon was really pleasant.
Our next stop was Box Canyon, a narrow slot between two canyon walls.
Standing on the bridge over the canyon, we could look down and see water rushing between the canyon walls.
We had another great view of Mt. Rainier, too!
Looking the other way, we could see Mt. Adams in the distance.
As we neared the entrance of the park, we stopped at one more waterfall, Silver Falls, and the boys climbed down to get a closer look.
There was one more hiking trail we were going to stop at, but the parking lot was really full, and we were all kindof ready to head home, so we continued out of the park and back into the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest.
On the way home, we stopped for ice cream in Packwood . . . it was good, although Tom’s black licorice cone looked pretty disgusting!
He said it tasted really good, though!
Another great visit to a beautiful National Park . . . and this one wasn’t even originally on our radar . . . we’re glad we added it!