Mount Rainier National Park
Includes all lodging, all meals, van shuttles between Seattle and Mt. Rainier, park entrance fees, leaders, yoga sessions, tour maps and narratives.
Timberline van shuttle is included between Seattle and Mt. Rainier Park prior to and following tour.
Not included: Airline service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport WA; Guide Gratuity.
Morning stretching and evening relaxation sessions with professional yoga therapist.
Hotel 8:30 am
Of all the mighty volcanoes of the Cascade Range, extending from southern British Columbia through northern California, none dominate the horizon as does Mt. Rainier. Rising from the Cascade foothills of central Washington, Rainier easily is the tallest of the High Cascade peaks. At 14,411 feet, Rainier is almost 300 feet higher than Shasta, the only other Cascade volcano exceeding 13,000 feet. On the other hand, as impressive as it is, Rainier is only one of more than 400 volcanoes that comprise the Ring of Fire that encircles the Pacific Ocean.
The fact that Rainier rises to its lofty height virtually from sea level accounts for the incredible diversity of habitats of both vegetation and wildlife that thrive on the mountain. Temperate rain forests at lower elevations give way to lush subalpine forests, tundra, and ultimately, permanent snowfields and glaciers as elevation increases. Thanks to conservationists, including John Muir, Congress enacted the necessary legislation on March 2, 1899, creating Mt. Rainier National Park, our fifth national park.
As an added bonus on this trip, Professional Yoga Therapist and Certified Stress Management Educator Sharon Harvey Alexander* will be traveling as a guide on the trip. She will offer some morning stretching and evening relaxation. These activities will provide a chance to loosen up before a big day on the trail or unwind at night in order to sleep well. In addition, there will be an evening session of sharing from her book: “Learning to Breathe, Learning to Live”. These activities are suitable for all. Dress comfortably and in layers, and bring a willingness to stretch both your body and your mind.
We’ll assemble early morning of Day 1 for the Mt. Rainier National Park Hiking Tour and head directly to our hike to Narada Falls (6 miles). The waterfall drops 188 feet in two tiers of 168 feet and 20 feet. The upper tier is a horsetail that falls in several strands down a nearly sheer cliff, into a canyon that is perpendicular to it. The lower tier is a much smaller plunge. After our first hike we’ll take time to learn some relaxation techniques to truely put you in vacation mode, at our home for two night, the rustic Nisqually Lodge.
On Day 2, we’ll hike along the Skyline Trail, likely the park’s most popular hike, and for good reason. A solid climb early into the hike and we’re beyond timberline where the spectacular vistas reside, and Rainier is in our face at all times. A short spur trail offers an irresistible opportunity to view Nisqually Glacier, before we begin our descent back to the trail head (6 miles). This evening we will have a short session on an approach to breathing from the book “Learning to Breathe, Learning to Live”.
Early morning of Day 3, we’ll leave Nisqually and shuttle over Chinook Pass, just beyond the park’s eastern boundary. After our van ride, we’ll take some time to learn some yoga stretches to get our mind and body ready for the hike. We’ll join the Pacific Crest Trail just east of the pass as part of a grand loop that encircles Naches Peak (6,452 feet). Stunning views of Rainier and many of the other dominant peaks of the eastern slope highlight our return to our trailhead (5 miles). We’ll then continue along the park’s eastern perimeter to Crystal Mountain Resort, where we’ll spend our final three overnights.
The Sunrise area is our destination for Day 4. With the awe inspiring Rainier in front and a backdrop of meadows offering the most riotous display of wildflowers that we have ever experienced, our hike at Berkeley Park is a favorite part of the itinerary (8 miles).
On Day 5, we’ll re-enter the park through the White River Station toward Sunrise. Our focus for this day is a section of the famed Wonderland Trail, the 90-mile epic track that encircles Rainier. We’ll hike the Fryingpan Creek section to the subalpine meadows of Summerland and beyond into the rocky alpine above to the edge of the snowfields (8 miles). After this substantial hike we will welcome another relaxation session before we enjoy dinner.
Following a final night at Crystal Mountain and a tune up of our stretching techniques, Day 6 will bring us to road’s end at Sunrise and a hike beyond timberline to Frozen Lake and on to the First and Second Burroughs. The views of Rainier throughout this hike are incredible along a trail that overlooks the entire expanse of the park’s northern section including snowclad Mt. Baker, well to the north of Rainier—all in all, a dramatic conclusion to our week-long engagement with this grand mountain (6 miles).
*Sharon Harvey Alexander is the founder of Mountain Wisdom Wholistic Health LLC and has been playing with aspects of yoga and mindfulness for over 25 years. She combines her deep study of ancient healing arts with her love of the outdoors to soothe, support, and encourage trekkers of all ages and abilities as they enjoy every moment of their trip.
Her website is : www.MountainWisdomWholisticHealth.com.
|Day 1||Narada Falls to Longridge - Van Trump Park overnight at Nisqually Lodge, evening relaxation||6|
|Day 2||Morning stretching, Skyline Trail Loop||6|
|Day 3||Chinook Pass: Pacific Crest Trail – Loop around Naches Peak, Breathing session, ovenight at Quicksilver Lodge||6|
|Day 4||Sunrise: Berkeley Park||8|
|Day 5||Sunrise Area: Fryingpan Creek to Summerland Meadows, evening relaxation||8|
|Day 6||Morning stretching, Sunrise Area:Burroughs Mountain Trail to First or Second Burroughs||6|
Total Distance: 42 miles
- Nisqually Lodge
- Quicksilver at Crystal Mountain