I do not remember the number of times I have been to Mount Rainier, but it always used to be only day trips. I had just bought a new DSLR ( the Nikon D750) and wanted to explore it and what better place than Mount Rainier. I could get sunsets and sunrises behind snow capped mountains, gorgeous landscapes, dark skies for the milky way, waterfalls and streams for long exposures and all this so close to home ! So we decided to make a stay for a night at the Paradise Inn right at Paradise point this time. Staying there was a good decision because for a change we got to spend a lot of time soaking in the beauty of Mt Rainier National Park, which somehow, I had missed out on all the previous times.
ATOP CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN
I had never been here but heard its pretty scenic. There’s a cable car ride to the top with 360 degrees of panoramic views of the amazing snow capped mountains and peaks . It was so amazing in summer, cannot imagine how much more amazing it would look with all the snow on the grounds in winters. Can’t wait to visit then.
Throughout the ride up, I was looking everywhere for a glimpse of Mt Rainier, but it was nowhere to be seen. But right at the end, the moment our ascent upwards ended and we came almost to stop, the majestic view of Mt R loomed ahead in front of us. It was breathtaking. Not sure if it had been planned so well as to get the view of Mt R only at the end ,but it sure makes for a dramatic entrance !
There’s a tiny restaurant at the top with outside seating and it is one of the nicest views you could ever get while dining! the food may not be up to the mark though.. We then started back to Paradise, which is the main spot at the base of Mt Rainier. The drive to Paradise is undoubtedly one of the best scenic drives!
Reached Paradise Inn and immediately set off to shoot the sunset, although my location was not too great, and it probably was not the bestest sunset that night.
When we got back to Paradise parking lot, there was a small group gathered around a huge telescope with one of the astro-volunteer members. We had some awesome views of the Venus, Jupiter and some of the constellations. How i wished I could have photographed through the telescope :(
However as the night progressed, we could see the gorgeous milky way right above us, and it being one of the darker skies in washington, I got some good shots of the Milk way with my 50mm . Man I love night sky photography !!
After about 1 am we decided to head back to the room and get some sleep as we planned to capture sunrise from Reflection Lake. As it was summer, sunrise was early and we had to wake up by 4.30. However, due to the late night, I was not sure I wanted to go shoot the sunrise when my alarm rang at 4.30 am but my hubby insisted we go as he did not want me to miss out on capturing what we essentially came for! Our room was not facing the east side hence I was not sure whether it was going to be a good sunrise, or even if it was clear or not. But we quickly dressed up and as soon as we came out of the lodge my jaw dropped. We had wasted a good amount of time on deciding whether to go or not, and by then the golden glow before the sunrise had already begun to be seen and in such beauty !
This is the sight that greeted us as soon as we walked to our car and i could hardly wait to rush to the reflection lake. The hues of blues and pinks were so perfect and I had never seen a sunrise so colorful and beautiful !
Finally we reached and what a sight !! The skies were on fire..
After this great sunrise at Reflection Lake, we headed back. On the way spotted this awesome waterfall by the side of the road that I had probably never seen before . Wanting to try out a long exposure shot for so long on my new cam, we pulled over and I took some shots of the same.
We had a little bit of time remaining after lunch and checking out before heading back. So we decided to do the usual hike to Myrtle Falls. The weather was perfect, colorful flowers were blooming making everything so picture-perfect.
Finally, after the wonderful hike and 2 amazing days in heaven, it was time for us to leave ! It truly is PARADISE and rightly named so !
“God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.” - John Muir