Our weekend adventure to show Madeline our version of Paradise (on Mt. Rainier) did not go to plan. Not only did we not reach Paradise, we also got saddled in the cloud ringing Mt. Rainier which prevented us from enjoying any stunning glimpses of the berg up close. I had envisioned marmots, fall colors, and zoomed-in views of the summit. What we got was locked gates and snow.
On Sunday, access of Mount Rainier National Park was blocked at Longmire. A search and rescue mission was underway. We all hoped and prayed for the recovery of the lost snowshoer which kept our frustrations in perspective. Meanwhile, the mountain closure diverted us and all other visitors to the lesser reknowned lower reaches near Longmire, the Nisqually River and Kautz Creek.
“It’s the journey, not the destination” acted as our motto for the day, as we hiked up all trails available to us. Who knew that Longmire holds mineral springs? Our very own Yellowstone-style bubbling earth.
Lady Kitty cared not a whit that our original sightseeing plans were foiled, and we carried on as well. As it turned out it was plenty exhilarating exploring locales we had previously whipped right past in our fervor to get to Paradise. Simply being on the mountain was enough. In a forest freshly dusted with snow, the air so cold it smelled of the cold: it was paradise after all.
We celebrated our successes. Namely, that we had made it inside a national park boundaries. In true German fashion, Madeline briskly checked “Mt. Rainier” off her bucket list.