Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beginning of an Adventure

As you may have gathered, I was traveling recently. In fact, I was away from home for 10 days to go on the "Cruise for a Cause" sponsored by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. It was an Alaskan cruise which departed from Seattle and visited Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, and Victoria, British Columbia.

So many firsts were experienced on this adventure. I had never been to Seattle (or Washington State), never on a cruise, and never to Alaska. I had been to Canada previously but not on the West Coast. I have been to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland however, so it wasn't the first time to the West Coast.

Other than my recent trip to Switzerland, it has been a long time since I've been on such an adventure. The personal success of both these trips has given me a renewed confidence in my abilities to adapt to challenging situations.

The first day of the trip was an adventure itself. Since we waited a little too long to decide to go on this cruise, I tried to find the cheapest airfare for Rob and myself. To do this, we opted to fly out of Baltimore instead of Northern Virginia. We're both now thinking that it's worth an extra $100 to fly out of Reagan National or Dulles. To make our 7 AM flight leaving Baltimore, we had to wake up at 3:30 AM. Geez, that is way too early!!

Arriving in Seattle, Rob's friends picked us up at the airport. Hoping that the weather would clear (as it had the day before), we headed to Mt. Rainier National Park. I've never been (obviously) and folks wanted to share the experience with me.

At one of the stops within the park, we started to take a trail below Narada Falls. Not too far into the walk we encountered snow on the path. Knowing that my tennis shoes are horrid on snow, I opted to stay behind. Also, the climb down and back looked to be rather strenuous and I was wary of that anyways. It was cold so I was given keys to the car.

Wonderful thing. It was not a big deal AT ALL that I stayed back. Nobody felt bad and certainly nobody tried to make me feel bad. The other three in our group are real hikers so it makes sense that I wouldn't keep up with them anyways.

The next stop was at the nature center and Paradise Inn for lunch. But we missed lunch time, ate snacks and traveled further into the park. Our host thought of a trail which was not too difficult at all. I decided to try this one myself, for which I'm really glad I did. I had to stop several times to give my legs a chance to catch-up, but seeing the nature and being part of the group was wonderful.

We walked to the Grove of the Patriarchs where 1000 year old trees reside.  Very majestic and beautiful.
Grove of the Patriarchs

Walking into the the Grove of the Patriarchs near the Ohanapecosh section of Mt. Rainier National Park feels like a cathedral. Groves of ancient Douglas-fir, hemlock and Western red cedar trees leave the air musty-sweet and clean, and visitors realize the insignificance of their own size.
To put it in perspective, when Columbus landed in the New World, some of these trees were already 500 years old. Clustered on a small island in the Ohanapecosh River, some of the oldest trees are more than 30 feet in circumference and have survived fires and floods for a thousand years.
A bridge over the river leads to a one mile boardwalk and interpretive trail where you can revere the eminence of this natural place. The trail takes about an hour to complete and the best hiking season is June through October. The trail is kid friendly and stroller accessible.
Wow!! I had no idea that the boardwalk area alone was a mile long!! No wonder it felt longer than one mile total which was one persons' estimate. Whoa, go me!!

After the hike, we went back to eat dinner. Coming out of the park, we saw lots of wildlife which was a great way to start our vacation.  On the drive past Seattle to our destination near Sammamish Lake, I slept like a log.  It had been a really LONG day, but very fun indeed.

We definitely needed to get some sleep that night because we would be getting up in the morning to travel into Seattle to meet some MS bloggers and friends.

Read more on the day in Seattle.

Related Posts:
The Rainbow Connection
Beginning of an Adventure
In Seattle for a Day, Kissing the Sidewalk
And They're Off!!
Whales, a Glacier, and Hottubs
On the Rails in Skagway
Blue Ice and Still Waters
Victory in Victoria, British Columbia
Who Knew Washington Could be HOT!!


  1. Yes, go you! What beautiful scenery! Glad you were able to enjoy the hike.

  2. The time I took my mom up to Mt Rainier to show it off, they were tearing up the roads, we got lost, good thing I took a rental car because the stones and tar made that car look awful. It sure is beautiful though. That is how it should be---you just hang back whenever and no big deal. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. What great pictures. Glad you had a good time.

  4. Oh - that makes me want to go up to the mountain sometime this Summer. The boardwalk loop trail looked wheelchair accessible. Was it? How about with a little help?

    And YOU WALKED IT!!! Yay for you.

  5. Great pictures. Looks Beautiful.