Fields, Pho, and Foxes: Mount Rainier National Park

Where do I go to celebrate a milestone? A national park!

Spring wildflowers may be long gone from my part of Washington state in July, but in the mountains, they are just starting to bloom. On Thursday, I finished six weeks of radiation therapy for breast cancer. On Sunday, my husband and I caught an early ferry from Whidbey Island to the mainland and then drove two hours to Mount Rainier National Park. We had the whole day ahead of us to see flora, fauna, and mountains! With so much park to explore, we stuck to the Sunrise area in the northeast section.

Subalpine phlox

Go left to get the best mountain views.

Our first stop was Tipsoo Lake parking lot, the starting point for the Naches Peak Loop Trail. The avalanche lilies at the trail head looked like a field of stars, guiding us into this national park of wonders.

Field of stars

The guidebook said the loop was three miles long, rising to 5800 feet altitude. Still recovering from radiation, I wondered if I could make it around Naches Peak and have enough energy to enjoy the rest of our visit. Some of the trail was rough with plenty of rocks to negotiate. Our walking sticks came in handy. With a new view or lake around every bend, it was not difficult to keep going.

Donald on the trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barb with Mount Rainier coming into view

Mount Rainier seen from Naches Peak

We also went to  Sunrise and hiked on the Silver Forest Trail, stopping to hear the song of the White River along the way.

Our dinner at the Alpine Inn of salmon for me and a Bavarian pho for Donald  was just what we needed to replenish ourselves.

Pho photo

I also got to ring the bell in the Crystal Mountain tower to mark the end of cancer treatment. A milestone truly celebrated! As if to renew our spirits even further, we saw a family of silver foxes playing near the Inn. How charming they are with their dark fur and white-tipped tails.

Nature knows what I need and is always conspiring to make me happy. My realist side acknowledges that this place I treasure is home to an active volcano and can be dangerous. Yet I agree with John Muir on this, that every location has its hazards. As Muir wrote, “Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.” It is a healing place for me, with a radiant power all its own.

4 thoughts on “Fields, Pho, and Foxes: Mount Rainier National Park

  1. Mickey Silverstein

    Hi Barbara I’m in Virginia for my yearly visit with my friend. We’re at the beach having a wonderful time. I just read this piece and liked picturing you both there.

    Love Mick

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
  2. Betsy Fuchs

    Barbara, this is a good gentle reminder that life needs to be celebrated and there is no better place than out-of-doors. Walking, looking, being surprised and enchanted by nature and than eating a delicious meal. Here in Chicago I find refreshment in the nature centers not far from my house, especially a small nature preserve that was carved out of a large city cemetery and has a small pond as well as a woodland trail. Much love to you always, and to Donald also, Betsy

    Reply

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