Hiking Mount Rainier Trails and Staying Motivated

Mountain peeks out ahead of you on the trail.

Each weekend, we’ve been trying to go for a big hike somewhere nearby. We went to Multnomah Falls in Oregon the week before and this past weekend we went back to Mount Rainier. 

We have a yearlong pass, so as long as I don’t buy anything at one of the gift shops we save money. Anyway, we prepped the night before by making a list of what we were taking and we like to go ahead and load the car up as much as possible. We were planning to hike the upper trails and they get very crowded during high season, which is now. And we were going on a Saturday. If we wanted to park anywhere close to the Paradise trails, we needed to get up and start getting ready for our trip from Olympia by 6:30 am.

We accomplished that. We usually start our hike days with a chocolate smoothie and a huge bowl of oatmeal for each of us, loaded with blueberries and strawberries.

It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to get to the mountain from our house. We knew there might be rain in the forecast for later in the day, and the drive up the entire time was nothing but fog and clouds. Then, once we got close enough to the park to start seeing signs for it, amazingly the fog lifted and we had blue skies.

Once we hiked just above the Paradise lot, you could see the dramatic clouds swooping low in the valley.





We stayed above the clouds for most of our hike. We went up all the way to Panorama Point. I hadn’t been there since 2007. In 2006 I was too sick to try, and 2008 was sick again that summer and could hardly get out of bed with undiagnosed RA.

It’s now 2013 and I am fine.

panarama point
Pointing out that I’m at Panorama Point.

This hike meant a lot to me. We had gorgeous weather, although the clouds got thicker on our descent. The clip below is one I shot of the upper ridge, to show how high we went. The motivating factor was just seeing it and doing it. The only pain I have since the hike is just typical muscle strain, nothing really painful at all.

And to close out, here’s a moment with a marmot who visited us on the trail.

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