A Little Bit Of A Seattle Summer || Hurricane Ridge + Mt. Rainier
When I booked a wedding over in the Seattle area last year, and asked my best friend (and hiking/adventure/photography parter) Abby to shoot it with me, it seemed like a no brainer that we should extend our time over there to get some hiking and sightseeing in! So we had a couple days before and after the wedding to do whatever we wanted. When we arrived in Seattle, we took sunset ferry ride over to Bremerton, which was freaking beautiful! We then decided to spend our day before the wedding in Olympic National Park, with one goal in mind: we wanted to climb Mt. Storm King. The stats for this hike are seeming easy; only 4 miles roundtrip (so 2 up and 2 down), but over 2,000 feet of gain. For those of you that don't hike, 2,000 feet in 2 miles is STEEP. So naturally, we died the whole way up, and stopped for many breathing breaks. When you near the summit, you come up on a section of trail where you have to use a ropes system to pull you up it because it's THAT steep. I knew that it would be hard but I had no idea how mentally challenging this would be for me. The trail in this section is dry, dirty, and loose, and with a steep drop on at least one side, let's just say that it was terrifying. I'm not afraid of heights but man, this one psyched me out so bad. By the time we made it to the first landing at the top, I needed 10 minutes to breathe and calm down, and realize that we'd made it and were safe! The views from the top are crazy. I didn't pull out my camera but did include one photo from my iPhone below. It was amazing, but I'm not sure I'd do it again. The hike down the ropes section was even scarier, as you sort of have to lower yourself down backwards and my palms were literally shredded from lowering myself down those ropes. If you're going to do this hike, take gloves, and mentally prepare yourself! It's not for the weak!
We were lucky enough to snag a campsite at Mt. Rainier, so the day after the wedding, we headed to Mt. Rainier National Park to catch a sunset on the mountain, and then a sunrise the next day! I'm so glad I finally got to see it not shrouded in clouds, and that I got to see it at the two best times of the day. Mount Rainier is simply a view you must see in person, because the size and scale is absolutely crazy. Also, if you're up there in the evening at Paradise, check in to see if they're hosting a star party. The rangers bring out huge telescopes and binoculars for you to look at the stars and planets once it gets dark and it's amazing! We stumbled upon it by accident but we're so glad we got to experience that!
On our last day in Seattle, we went to Hi-Spot Cafe for breakfast with my mom and aunt (HIGHLY recommend, it's so good every time I go!), did some thrifting at Goodwill, and then got on the light rail for the first time to explore around Capitol Hill! It was a super fun, exhausting, and absolutely amazing week. I can't wait to be in Seattle again in October!
Here's a combination of photos from my iPhone, DSLR, and a Sony mirrorless camera I was testing out! (It's much lighter and easier to take on hikes; I was impressed!) Hope you enjoy!
If you made it through all the photos this far, I have just a little bit more to share with you. I already posted this on my Instagram and Facebook pages, so if you haven't seen those posts, I'll just copy the text from there and leave these two photos for you to ponder:
"This is not a cute couple or a beautiful landscape, but it is something I’ve been meaning to share.
If it’s not already been made obvious by my feed, I love the outdoors and I love visiting national parks like Mount Rainier! But man, does it dampen the experience when you see mulptile people just blatantly disrespecting the land. Abby and I went for a very brief hike up the Skyline Trail at Paradise to catch last light at Rainier, and this is just a small portion of the trash that we saw that we decided to pick up. We also came across a photographer doing a couples session who was very clearly over the ropes, with multiple signs saying not to pass, walking all over the fragile meadows. It surprised me how upset it made me, not only because the signs are EVERYWHERE and marked so clearly, but because I love these protected places and I was literally watching someone ruin them right in front of me.
National parks were originally created to protect land from mining and government use. These places would not be as beautiful and as peaceful as they are without the parks service to protect and restore them. They’re already at enough risk as it is, and with human involvement and carelessness, they may not be the same or even there for our future generations to enjoy. Please, PLEASE don’t litter in nature, or anywhere ever, and please abide by signage in national parks and respect the boundaries that are out there. And if you see trash, it takes 5 seconds to pick it up. We can all do our part, even if it’s small."