Paul Brians & Paula Elliot's Trip to Mount Rainier
July 14-17, 2003
After living for decades in the Washington, we decided it was time to visit one of our state's most famous symbols, Mount Rainier. We are used to seeing it as a dim, towering blue pyramid from the Ryegrass rest stop on the way to Seattle, or on the ferry to Bainbridge Island. It is so out of scale with the surrounding landscape that it doesn't seem quite real, especially because it disappears for weeks at a time behind its shroud of clouds.
Up close it is even more impressive, and far more varied in appearance.
Mount Rainier is about the same distance from Pullman as Seattle, and it takes about the same amount of time to get there: 5 1/2 hours, mostly through arid terrain which does little to prepare the visitor for the lush green cloak of trees and meadows surrounding the mountain.
From the east, the quickest way to get to the mountain is to head west on I-90, then turn south onto I-82 just before Ellensberg to Yakima. (This is a good place to fill up--gas rises steeply in price as you approach the park, and there is none for sale inside its boundaries.) Take US 12 west to 410 and continue west to Mount Rainier National Park.