To Paradise and Back
Think of famous tourist attractions in Seattle, and most likely Seattle Needle will be the first to come to mind. However, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, there stands Seattle’s real crowning glory — Mount Rainier. It is an active volcano surrounded by several square miles of snow, ice, and gorgeous old-growth forests. It is also a haven for fauna and wild flora.
Evergreen Escapes offered us a one-of-a kind opportunity to see Mount Rainier up close and personal, with a small group tour and a knowledgeable guide. I love Evergreen because they try their best to make everything easy for their customers. They even schedule a downtown complimentary pickup and drop-off: meaning you can go to Mount Rainier and back without any hassle.
Before we got to Mount Rainier itself, we were treated to the quaint little town of Enumclaw. There were antiques and sweets galore! It was awesome.
Once we got to the mountain itself, we were treated to a boatload of interesting facts about the area. Marty, our driver/tour-guide, said that we were lucky that day. Mount Rainier can be seen in its full glory. He said that even though Evergreen Escapes runs tours every summer (May-September), most of the time the mountain is covered by a layer of fog.
The group was relatively small — Evergreen only allows a maximum of ten, and we only had eight.
After the resort, we headed to a place called “Paradise” — perfectly named, in my opinion. Paradise is a famous hiking ground, offering a treasure-trove of wildflower meadows and hiking trails. There is also a visitor center, where we can feast on information about Mount Rainier.
Marty asked whether we would like to go on a big hike, or on a series of smaller hikes. Most of us decided we wanted to go on a big hike. He also created schedules so we know when we’ll be back. Marty is amazingly efficient in managing this tour. He said that there’s a wealth of activities we can do here — so much that they can even think of alternatives when it is raining.
We took note of our schedules, for those who want to make it to the falls and those who want to loop around the trails. The hike was heart-pumping, not only for the exercise but for the raw, natural view we took in along the way. We saw deer and other animals, and marveled at the emerald green of the trees and sapphire blue of the sky. While we were hiking, Marty was preparing a lunch for when we got back — kale, quinoa, and other organic food. It was amazingly tasty!
From there we headed back downtown, leaving Mount Rainier behind. We won’t really leave it, though — there’s a part of it that remains with every visitor. We just saw Paradise of Earth, and we are raring to come back.