“There it is guys!”
I turned and looked out the window to see it. It was even more breathtaking than I had imagined. I had visited many mountains during my family’s yearly trips to national parks, but no peak possessed the beauty and grace of this one, standing tall and alone in the landscape. No mountain was as gorgeous as Mount Rainier.
The first day, we hiked it, but not in its entirety of course. Ranging at 14,411 feet tall, Mount Rainier is hardly an easy climb, so we drove up a few thousand feet and started our trek. We were loving it! That was until we weren’t. Suddenly, my entire family began to feel lightheaded and nauseous: altitude sickness, the enemy of every hiker. We knew we wouldn’t be able to reach the peak, but we refused to stop until we could touch the snow that dusted the top quarter of the mountain.
So we persisted, and my goodness that snow felt wonderful. It was amazing that we could be sweating in typical summer weather while our fingers were chilled in the icy white blanket beneath our feet. I wanted to stay there all day, but unfortunately, the altitude sickness got the best of my family and we were forced to retreat.
We scrambled down with our backs to the mountain, and I felt a sense of longing tugging at my heels, begging me to stop. I paused and turned around to stare up again at this enormous dark gray chunk of rock. It made me feel so small and so humble. I was so fortunate to be standing there admiring one of nature’s most magnificent creations, and I never wanted to leave.
The next day, we drove to a ski lodge where we were staying for the night. We took a gondola up the small mountains surrounding the resort to admire the view that was above. Sure enough, I was once again greeted by my old friend Mount Rainier, but from farther away this time. And once again I just stood there, awestruck, reveling in its beauty.
A few days later, my family drove to Seattle to do some sightseeing. I was extremely impressed by the city’s vibrant colors and unconventional structure; it was so much different from Chicago, where I’m from. But what set it apart the most was the faint image of an astonishing mountain in the background.
After seven glorious days exploring Washington, it was hard to say goodbye. Yes, I would miss Seattle with its legendary Space Needle and gorgeous views of the ocean, and I would miss the charming ski lodge which was centered perfectly between countless great hiking trails. But none of these feelings would compare to the yearning I would experience for another trip to Mount Rainier: it was a friend, a constant, but it is thousands of miles away ruling the state of Washington with its beauty.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.