Mt. Rainier

Our 6th wedding anniversary came around last weekend. Six years already! Three years ago we started a new tradition of going to a National Park to celebrate, rather than spending money on restaurants or gifts. We saw Crater Lake, then Olympic last year, and this year we made it up to Mt. Rainier. Because of the bebe, we made it a day trip rather than trying to camp or spend money on a hotel. It turned out to be a long day, but a really great one!

We did two separate hikes, drove around the southern part of the mountain and stopped in the visitor center. Naches Peak Loop was just outside the park’s official borders but with stunning views of the mountain and meadows. I think, due to the hot weather this year, we probably missed the peak of wildflowers in the area, but we spotted a few here and there.

Then we hiked Bench and Snow Lakes, a short but steep one ending at a deep blue-and-green alpine lake. I carried Edda in the pack on both hikes, and she spent the first part of each gazing solemnly around before drifting off to sleep. She was a hit with our passing fellow hikers, who liked to comment on her: “So young!” “Good for you, mama!” “Adorable!”

It was a special trip for me, to visit that mountain. I climbed Mt Rainier over 10 years ago, all 14,410 feet to the crater on the top. It remains one of the hardest, most physically and mentally challenging things I’ve ever done. It was pretty crazy to bring my newborn to look at that mountain with me, because my labor with her is the other hardest, most physically and mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done. That feeling of relief and victory that followed both of them, though? Insane.

I’m so proud of ourselves for this trip, for keeping to our tradition even with a newborn. It would have been so easy to skip it, on account of budget and time and busyness and how-do-you-road-trip-with-a-newborn? It’s important to me to keep exploring, and to introduce that to my daughter. I know she’s too young to notice or remember any of this now, but we keep telling ourselves that the more it’s a habit now, the easier it’ll come later. In the gift shop we bought her a National Park Passport book, with pages of info and sections to stamp when you visit each park or historic site. I am SO excited to start filling it up with her! We got the first stamp done that day: August 1, 2015. Mt Rainier National Park. 10 weeks old that day. Here’s to a lifetime of exploring, little one.