We spent about two weeks in the Glacier Park area, travelling to Whitefish, Bigfork, and Kalispell for shopping, farmer’s markets, and an arts and crafts festival.

From there we made a beautiful trek through Idaho and across Eastern Washington to Mt. Rainier National Park. We boondocked in some great spots along the way, and spent two weeks in Packwood, Washington.

We’d heard the campground was a popular feeding place for local elk, and I was thrilled to see them nearly every day we were there. Often they passed right by the RV.

I got great photos!

I couldn’t wait to share them!

Then my computer crashed. Before I backed up those photos. Gone from the camera, gone from the hard drive. Gone. Gone. Gone.

Never mind the lost short story, journal entries, and other files I had to recreate or update — those losses were overcome.

But losing the elk and Mt. Rainier photos made me want to cry.

Fortunately, hiking Mt. Rainier, Bob had toted his camera, something he doesn’t do very often. Photos here are all his and — to be honest — better than those I took, so maybe my loss wasn’t so bad after all!

We arrived in the area via Route 12,  “hirvy” (hilly + curvy) road in a drizzly fog. Following a truck hauling corn, we watched ear after ear tumble off the back as he tackled the hirves.

The first few days were cloudy and Mt. Rainier hid herself like a shy mistress behind a curtain, teasing us with subtle hints of what we were missing.








From the Sunrise Visitors Center, we hiked Burroughs Ridge, which a sign said would expose us to “tundra conditions,” and it was certainly cold! We hadn’t quite adjusted to the altitude yet, either, so we turned back about three tenths of a mile from the first summit.

Undaunted, we returned a few days later when the sun was shining and got views of Mt. Rainier that awed and amazed us. It was hard to believe that clouds could have kept such a huge mountain so completely out of sight!!







Ready for a hike that wouldn’t mean driving as far as Sunrise, we opted next for the Pinnacle Peak trail, which gave us a great workout with views that were stunning. Once at the peak, we could see Mt. Adams ahead of us, Mt. Hood in the distance, and Mt. Rainier in the other direction. (That’s Mt. Rainier behind me in this shot.)







The trailhead is across from the Reflection Lakes, which are worth some time in and of themselves.







Mt. Rainier is more than a mountain — it’s an ecosystem that gifts us with enormous old trees, moss-covered rocks, an abundance of wildflowers, and wildlife that can teach us more about ourselves and our place in the world than we could learn any other way. The majesty of the mountain helped put the loss of my laptop in perspective!

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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