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New: Landmarks of Washington State: Mount Rainier

Posted on Jun 16, 2017

Many of you have been reading Ian Clark’s blog posts for Pickett Street over the past couple of years. Since Ian is now moving on to a PhD program, he kindly passed the blog writing torch to me, his older (and, let’s be honest, wiser) sister. So, if you’re curious as to what it was really like growing up in the Clark household, I can fill you in.

Anyway. Like Ian, I grew up in Washington State. Though I now live in the hippy haven of Boulder, Colorado, I look forward to the day when I can move back to the Pacific Northwest, where my heart and my family reside. To start off on a fun, perhaps sentimental note, I’d like to discuss one of my favorite spots in Washington, and, in my humble opinion, what is one of the best mountains in the entire world: Mount Rainier.

Don’t get me wrong—Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are truly incredible. However, there’s something special about Mount Rainier. Maybe it’s the fact that, with the surrounding landscape at sea level, the peak with its 14,410 feet dramatically rises out of the clouds like a storybook mountain.

I first heard about this mountain when my family was getting ready to relocate from New Jersey to Washington. In order to get us excited about the move, my dad told my brothers and me stories about Washington, and the story that stuck was about Mount Rainier and the elves that lived there. When we finally visited, the mountain was just as magical as it had been described. I remember staring out the window transfixed as we drove through lush forests and past waterfalls.

Years later, my dad climbed Mount Rainer. His complicated preparations, purchasing crampons and ice picks (I think? I know nothing about mountaineering), only added to the mountain’s dreamy mystique. I still have a picture of him standing on top of the mountain, surrounded by its snowy clouds.

Mount Rainier’s elusive nature also makes it quite unique. Growing up, I remember family from the East Coast was excited to finally see the famous mountain when they visited us. However, with the rainy, foggy weather, the mountain was often hidden from view. This elusiveness led one of my uncles to declare that he didn’t believe the mountain truly existed and that we were making it up as an elaborate ruse to get him to visit.

Mount Rainier is an active volcano and the most glaciated (covered in glaciers) peak in the contiguous United States. It is believed to be over 500,000 years old. It’s by far the tallest peak in the Cascade Range, and its slopes are filled with wildflowers, waterfalls, hiking trails, campsites, and ancient forests with trees over a thousand years old. The mountain’s two most popular spots—Sunrise and Paradise Visitor’s Centers—are just over two hours from downtown Seattle.

If you are a family with small children, check out the Grove of the Patriarchs—a flat 1.5 mile hike through old-growth forest, as well as the suspension bridge over Ohanapecosh River or Box Canyon’s easy walk past a rushing river. Those who are more athletically inclined (ahem, like my brother Ian) might try the famous Wonderland Trail, which takes several days and covers the 93 miles that encircle the entire mountain.

There’s a reason that Washington State license plates feature Mount Rainier. This landmark represents one of the many things that are so wonderful about its home state—with the misty mornings, the fern-filled forests, and the lovely mountain, gracing us with its presence when it pleases, Washington is a place where magic feels real.

If you live near the mountain, or in a spot with a view, lucky you! If not, finding a home with a view of Mount Rainier might be an excellent goal. I personally can’t wait to someday sip my coffee in a home back in Washington while waiting to catch a glimpse of the mountain rising out of the clouds.

Reach out to the Pickett Street Team today – they can help you find that home: or #425.502.5397

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