Our visit to Mount Doom….er, Rainier

On Saturday, poetrix618 and I hiked up Mount Rainier. To prepare for this outing, I checked out the national park website, which went a little bit like this: One does not simply walk into Mount Rainier. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep. The great eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash, and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly. But if you DO decide to brave it, you should bring: a map, a compass, a flashlight, extra food, extra clothing, rain gear, first aid supplies, a pocket knife, matches, and a fire starter. ‘Tee hee!’ we giggled, and packed cameras, tylenol, and a bottle of water apiece. ‘We are survivalists!’ Thus begins our fateful journey, wherein we came to a compact beforehand to eat one another should Anne’s snack size bag of Doritos not provide adequate sustenance and we were required to resort to cannibalism, and we each made a secret promise to ourselves to push the other in front of a hungry cougar, should one appear. Or maybe that was just a promise I made to myself. But before all that, we needed to find parking. We must have waited near the Pacific Northwest’s answer to Mr. Rogers for fifteen minutes while he changed his shoes, packed up his dorky hiking sticks, removed his ultra-dorky hat with the hanging cloth mullet down the back, and zipped his pants off at the knees to turn them into shorts. Not once in this entire time did he acknowledge us, though we were clearly waiting for him and his super passive-aggressive ass to leave. As he bent over and fiddled some more, obviously enjoying our frustration with him, I took a photo of his sweaty ass in order to mock him more thoroughly on the internet, where my power resides.

As you can see, he has sweated a river down his back, creating a delta near his asscrack, much like the one near the base of the Mississippi River, and likely as alluvium-rich, ensuring a diverse ecosystem of asscrack bacteria. SEE WHAT YOU GET FOR IMPEDING ME, SWEATY ASSCRACK MAN? Ahem. After we finally found another parking spot, approximately a mile farther down the road, we shook our fists in his general direction and proceeded to the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center for trail information and a high-quality cafeteria lunch. From their informational kiosks, like the one pictured below, you might be inclined to believe that Mount Rainier was named after some dude who wore x-ray spectacles long before they were in vogue.


I tell you here and now that is a lie. Rainier is Squamish for ‘Cold Filtered’, and I’ll prove it to you:


After the park ranger warned us about the numerous recent black bear sightings, we went on our way up Dead Horse Creek trail. It was glorious. The fresh scents of earth and trees and wildflowers and even snow hung in the air. For long stretches of time, all we could hear was nature–the wind rustling through trees and the gurgling of streams. No talking, or shouting, no electrical humming or the din of cars; just nature. That section of the park is named Paradise, and I would be loathe to call it otherwise.






We passed a number of animals, mostly unconcerned with our presence; the deer stayed a fair distance from the path, but the chipmunks and marmots chittered and ate an arm’s length away.




The higher we hiked, the more breathtaking our surroundings became. We hiked past the tree line, up past the snow line, and nearly as high as we could travel without a special permit.


As you can see, everyone else coming down has a big pack filled with survival gear, in contrast to Anne going up, who has left her fate to the gods who watch over the unprepared.   We were eventually forced to turn around due to a fog rolling in–that, combined with the ultra-slippery snow covering the trail next to steep cliffs seemed a foolhardy venture, even to us. On the way back down, the fog broke in one area, spotlighting a glacier.   I never in my life would have guessed when looking upon the mountain from a distance that it would be more than just rocks and snow, but now, having been there, I can safely say that it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my entire life, and in no way can the pictures I took even begin to do it justice. The sheer beauty provided an excellent contrast for the horror that came next. Dun dun DUN–CLIFFHANGER ENDING. (See what I did there?)


My name is Mellzah, and I approved this message.

15 Comments Our visit to Mount Doom….er, Rainier

  1. gray_jedi September 9, 2008 at 3:05 am

    I must say, it’s a special kind of awesome when you can get to cloud level just by WALKING. 🙂

    1. admin September 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm

      It made me feel pretty powerful, like Thor or something. 😀

  2. watchout5 September 8, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Fucking beautiful

    How many deer did you shoot down?

    1. admin September 8, 2008 at 9:23 pm

      Pft, I’m not Sarah Palin.

      1. watchout5 September 8, 2008 at 9:25 pm

        Thank god, in all seriousness though some of those shots are amazing. I bet those hikers felt pretty stupid when they realized people survive up there without that stuff. :p

        1. admin September 8, 2008 at 9:28 pm

          I took something like 200 pictures, I was so gutted when my good camera ran out of batteries right when we ran into the marmot–I missed out on some really good shots. 🙁

          I’ve got a lot more pictures up here and here, far too many to post on LJ!

          1. watchout5 September 8, 2008 at 9:31 pm

            omgz I added you on facebook!!111oneeleventy

          2. admin September 8, 2008 at 9:39 pm


    2. shadowstitch September 9, 2008 at 1:50 am


      But she could only carry 100 lb back to the wagon.

      1. watchout5 September 9, 2008 at 1:52 am

        Thank the gods she’s didn’t get Cholera, I always get Cholera

        1. admin September 9, 2008 at 4:07 pm

          But my Indian guide took my money and ran when I tried to ford the river. 🙁

  3. damienwolfe September 10, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    That is beautiful. 😀

    1. admin September 12, 2008 at 9:50 pm

      My camera couldn’t even begin to capture how beautiful it was. 🙂

  4. poetrix618 September 12, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Truly amazing pics, Mellzah! It really was beautiful.

    Afterwards, the bug bite on my right hand got so bad that I couldn’t see my knuckles when I made a fist. After a night of freaking out that I had some mosquito-borne megga disease, it started to get better. (The other bites were also red and swollen.)

    I’ll still laugh at the back packers next time, but I *will* bring bug repellent!

    1. admin September 12, 2008 at 9:52 pm

      DAMN! My bug bites never got anywhere close to that–they just itched for a couple of days. Have you ruled out mosquito SARS?

Comments are closed.