My husband and I had a quick, but memorable two-day trip to Washington State, where we celebrated Adam and Deb’s wedding at Mineral Lake Lodge. Unfortunately, the “mountain wasn’t out” that day, which is how the locals refer to cloud cover of the mountain. The day was warm, and the view was beautiful.
The following day we decided to drive up the highway to visit Mount Rainier first hand. We reached 5500 ft. (Paradise Upper), which is the highest point of Mount Rainier that one can drive to. The glaciated summit was hidden in the clouds at 14,410 ft. above sea level. I took pictures of the ice climbers (and their ice axes and gear) to show the contrast between them and us. It was 43 degrees Fahrenheit, and we were clearly underprepared in T-shirts, running shorts, and boots. We hiked several trails by Narada Falls and took a few moments to breathe in the views of Mount Rainier’s various snowcaps.
After what seemed like a brisk hike (in high altitude), we descended the mountain to visit Wolf Haven International – a non-profit wolf reserve located in Tenino. WHI provides a natural sanctuary for captive-born wolves. They offer inexpensive, guided tours, educational programs on wildlife protection, and are made up primarily of volunteers. I really enjoyed the tour – we saw several different types of wolves in the enclosures, and they seemed very comfortable in their habitats. However, I think priority was placed in providing quality information about wolves and their conservation as a species. This was not a zoo tour and it was not meant to be; rather it was intended to be an informative, educational tour, and if you were lucky you would be able to see some wolves interact in their natural habitat – they were very active when we saw them. Ultimately, I was happy to see that the wolves (not the guests) were the priority at this sanctuary.
We met Deb’s family for some lunch and beach time on their private property near Olympia. On the rocky shore there were wooden, Navy ships that long ago had been burned. They were now part of the ecosystem in Washington, as barnacles and other sea life had all but covered the remains. Enjoy!
NOTE: All blog posts, articles, and photographs are the intellectual and creative property of Melissa J. Koziol. Thank you for reading!