Let’s do a little catching up, shall we? Thought I would do a little ‘What I Did This Summer’ sort of thing, having never had a teacher assign such an essay in my life. I kind of feel like I missed out. Truly, I feel kind of cheated, because I would have killed that essay (probably by making up stuff, but I digress.)
This summer was filled with sunny days and good friends, a little travel and a lot of work. Which is good.
The highlight of the summer really was a quick trip to Mt. Rainier.
Sharon called and invited me to stay at the Lodge with her while Mitch summited the mountain. How do you say no to an invitation like that? You just don’t.
I took the ‘back way’ from Portland which meant a great drive through the little towns of Highway 12. Towns like Ethel, Mossyrock (yes, all one word) and Morton. I’ve wanted to do that drive for a while, so it was a lot of fun and just incredibly beautiful.
It meant wending my up to Elbe on Highway 7, on a winding road through foothills and streams and houses that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Then it was joining the parade heading to Paradise. That is actually the name, not an editorial comment. Though, to be fair – it is aptly named.
I think a lot of us had the same idea. It was one of those really hot Northwest summer days, the kind we don’t get a lot of but complain loudly about. Surely it would be cooler up on Mt. Rainier. Heck, there was still snow on the ground – a lot of snow. You would think with all the snow around it would be cooler.
It was Las Vegas Summer hot, but damn if it wasn’t spectacular. The sound of rushing water as snow melted into a myriad of little waterfalls. Gorgeous. The first thing that greeted me was a perfect lenticular cloud sitting like a hat on the mountain. Mt. Rainier is great for these sort of formations, but I always have seen them from a distance while driving on a freeway or busy highway. This time I got to just stand and be bowled over by it.
Sharon and I met up and did a short hike up to Myrtle Falls, tramping through snow and slush. We would both stop at random points as a cold breeze would whisk by us, coming straight off the snow fields above; it was heaven. Or, you know, Paradise.
Later we imbibed cocktails on the deck, thanks to Bill our inconsistent waiter (he was a peach, but incredibly busy. We had a lot of fun joking with him.) and thanks to Sharon’s traveling bar. Mt. Rainier Martinis, Sharon’s Old Fashioneds, sublime.
Evening fell and it was the night of the first of three super moons this summer. Talk about amazing. Better still, a group of enthusiastic astronomers had set up several telescopes near the visitors center. We looked at the moon, at Mars and at Saturn. A former astronomy professor had what he called his ‘light saber’ (a very powerful laser pointer) and entertained the folks waiting in line by pointing out various constellations.
Let me just say that the science nerd in me totally geeked out to see Saturn’s rings, and I was thrilled that I finally saw Mars. It was just incredibly cool. Okay, geek out over.
While I had to leave before Mitch got down the mountain the next morning (getting home just in front of a pretty spectacular thunder storm) I had a tremendous weekend. Two days packed full of beautiful things, laughing with one of my favorite people on earth, good food and great conversations.
Two days on Mt. Rainier was good for the soul. Good for my soul at least. Truly the highlight of my summer.
So – what was the highlight of your summer?