So we didn't summit Rainier. We did, however, drive through the campground that many of those attempting the summit leave from to gawk at them like groupies. Its the same way I get when Ironman WI weekend rolls around. I walk around all googlie-eyed at all the athletes thinking "Wow, you're about to do something amazing. Well done you crazy nut-job. Now go hug your significant other and/or family members and thank them for sticking with you through the madness."
Anyway, after stalking the pseudo-celebs of the hiking world, what we did do was a lot of hiking...through a lot more snow than I expected....with views that quite honestly blew me away.
I don't know why I had low expectations for Rainier, I just did. Something about it being a volcano struck me as very "Devil's Tower" and I assumed it was something of a drive-by geologic feature (I don't rock-climb otherwise I'm sure I wouldn't categorize Devil's Tower as a drive-by anything...but that's another story for another time).
So I was wrong. Way wrong. Mt. Rainer National Park is beautiful. I'm definitely putting our day of hiking on my short list of most beautiful workouts. Followed closely by America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride (100 miles around Lake Tahoe), and the All Hallow's Eve Trail Half Marathon in Vancouver, BC. Although kayaking the Apostle Islands National Seashore at sunset didn't exactly suck either.
So back to the point I was trying to make here....there is something about thin air and scenic vistas that makes my brain work overtime. And inevitably I come away with a few little nuggets of life perspective that I carry home with me. So here are a few from Rainier:
- If you've done an "Iron" anything people have some preconceived notions about your athletic abilities (as ill-founded as they may be). So when your little sister knows she's going hiking with alleged "Irongirl" her competitive nature will kick in and she's gonna bring her A game. Don't expect to be able to slack off. You've got a reputation to live up to.
- Theory holds: Things that are harder have a better reward. (i.e. steeper = prettier)
- The early bird gets something better than worms....she gets the trail to herself.
- Those trails that you see in running shoe ads really do exist.