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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Jennifer Cook

The Disappearing Mountain

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the northwestern region of Washington state know all about the "disappearing" mountain. It is the type of lore that is passed down generation after generation. One day it is there, and the next it is gone. What makes this scenario even more crazy is just how massive this mountain is. It dominates the landscape at 14,400 feet high and generates its own weather. It is summertime in the valley and winter at the peak. She is none other than Mt. Rainier. Of course, we call her a mountain, but she is really a volcano. Mt. Rainer last erupted in 1450, and continues to be monitored for her next eruption.

Our first time seeing Mt. Rainier was from a plane in 2016. We gazed at her in wonder, and knew she was something special.

Whether you are in Seattle, the KP, or anywhere in the western part of the state you have to stop and look at the beautiful work of Mother Nature.

Mt. Rainier has also been called the "floating" mountain. You can see where she gets that name from the pictures above. However, what is truly astounding is how often she completely disappears. It is hard to put into perspective how the entire landscape looks so different when she is gone. Then all of a sudden she appears again, and you are left gobsmacked at how something so big can ever disappear. In fact, it took Mt Rainer a few weeks to show her face after our move here. I will never forget heading into Gig Harbor and being surprised by her sudden (and massive) appearance while traveling down a road we had taken several times prior. It was sort of like seeing Godzilla suddenly appear before you. We both startled and then laughed about our reactions!

Thanks to my husbands amazing geographical knowledge he knew where some of the best views of the mountain could be found. (Also another reason why he picked the house he did for us). We are only half a mile from Penrose State Park and, from there onlya short one mile hike to the point. At the point we are greeted with views like these when she chooses to grace us with her presence.

During our travels we have fallen in love with a number of special places: Bear Butte in Sturgis, SD, Jenny Lake in The Grand Tetons National Park, Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park are a few of our favorites. However, Mt. Rainier has probably moved to our number one favorite. You can not help but smile everytime she is showing off. What makes this volcano even more special is that she is also a National Park.

The diverse ecosystems throughout this park is impressive. You can hike through some of the darkest forests, see breathtaking waterfalls, wind up in a blizzard, and so much more. This park is definitely worth several days to explore and you will be amazed at the beauty all around you. Just remember there is no guarantee that you will see the mountain on any given day. She is funny that way. However, when you are ready to give up hope she will reveal herself at the most unexpected time.

For anyone who heads to the Pacific Northwest makes sure to block off some time to visit Mt. Rainier. You can not come to this part of the country and not spend some time in this park, and trying to get a glimpse of this beautiful volcano. Good luck!!

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