Mount Rainier June 2013
Teresa, Florence, Judy, Elisha, Sally and David spent a couple of days in the Mount Rainier National Park. Judy and Elisha came all the way from Australia. They drove down from Vancouver with Teresa and Florence. We met up at Sally and David's home in Bellevue WA before heading out to Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier is the second highest peak (14400 feet) in the lower 48 states in the US. It is snow capped year round and has permanent glaciers (although the glaciers have been retreating in the last decades).
We were able to stay at the Paradise Inn for two nights, thanks to Teresa and Florence for booking the room several months earlier. The historic inn was built in 1916, mostly with wood. It is located inside the park at an altitude of about 5900 feet. You can see the Mount Rainier when you step out of the Inn if the weather is clear. In the summer time, the meadows outside are filled with alpine wild flowers. But in June, the meadows are still covered with several feet of snow (typical condition).
Locks, more locks and senior moments
After we checked in, we planned to do some walking on the roadway which was clear of snow. We waited in the hotel lounge for Teresa and Florence who went to their room. As we became antsy after waiting twenty minutes, a hotel employee came over and told us "Your friends are locked up in their room. We are trying at our best to get them out." We didn't realize how bad the situation was until we talked to them in front of their room.
The door lock in their room has broken loose. Nobody can open the door from inside or outside the room, with or without a key. There was no way out since the room was on the third floor. There was no telephone in the room. There was no cell service. It took Florence and Teresa a while to alert somebody outside the hotel of their problem. Most people saw them waving at the window just waved back, thinking these two were just being super-friendly.
We were told a locksmith was coming from Ashford, a town an hour away, to help. Florence and Teresa managed to ply away the lock plate that covers the screws. With a small screw driver that we managed to pass under the door (with very little clearance), they took the screws and the lock off the door, and set themselves free! They got a new room and free breakfasts the next morning.
There was another incident about locks the next morning. Elisha could not open door of his room. He called Judy but she couldn't do it either with her key. They managed to ask the cleaners nearby to open the door for them. When they got in, the unfamiliar luggage made them realized that was the wrong room. Their room was the next one over. We all laughed at this "senior moment".
David has his own senior moment the next day by leaving his lunch in the trunk (he put it there to be away from the heat in the car). So at the end of the trail there was no lunch. Luckily we were not far away from the trail head.
We couldn't hike at the higher elevations since they were still covered with ice and snow. We drove down to lower elevations. With the snow melting, the waterfalls are spectacular.
One of the most unusual scenery is the Box Canyon. It is only about 100 ft wide and several hundred feet deep. It was formed from a crack in the granite.
We had a great time. We even saw alpine wildflowers at lower altitudes. I didn't take photos of them this time around. But I will leave some here from previous trips.
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