We spent the day in my favorite place on earth, Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park.
Jill told us last weekend that she was taking the kids to Paradise, and did we want to go. YES! My birthday is coming up soon, and this is just where I want to spend it, so we began my birthday pageant early.
Our first stop on the way to The Mountain was at Narada Falls.
The rushing stream that feeds the falls.
Isaac is always looking for frogs. He found two.
Can you find this little one?
After reaching the Visitor Center at Paradise, we ate our picnic lunch, since it was almost noon, and then we set out to climb up the mountain slopes.
Jill and kids planned to go way up to Panorama Point, and Tom and I knew we would not keep up or make it that far, so they set off and we took a slower pace.
We could see right away that with the heavy snow pack this winter, plants were just beginning to emerge. Instead of the riot of color of later blooms, we found the delicate blooms of glacier lilies and pasque flowers.
As we climbed higher, we encountered more snow patches across the trail. It was slippery going.
With The Mountain ahead of us and the Tatoosh Range behind us - such beauty all around.
By now the mountain was almost free of clouds.
We reached our goal, the view from Alta Vista, where we could see Mount Adams peeking over the Tatoosh.
And we rested - not for the first time.
Here in the high rocks the phlox and heaths were blooming.
We took the Waterfall Trail down to the lodge, were we rested and enjoyed our afternoon lattes and chocolate.
Then we set off on a shorter hike to Myrtle Falls.
The marmots were out, enjoying the sun.
False Hellebore was popping up out of the ground in a great rush of greenness.
Bear grass was blooming.
Purple mountain daisies, for purple mountain majesty.
We all rendezvoused at the Visitor Center about 4:45, and slowly pulled ourselves out of Paradise.
It was about 5:30 when we arrived at the Copper Creek Inn, just outside the National Park boundary, where we stopped to have dinner.
And then, closer to home, we stopped at a Dairy Queen for dessert. That's my Peanut Buster Parfait there unguarded on the table. Jill had to help me finish it.
What a sweet day it was!