Mt. Rainier, southeast of Seattle, is much more than a mountain, though at over 14,000 feet, it is the fifth highest mountain in the continental U.S. The snow-capped peak is covered by glaciers that are a deep blue. The mountain is surrounded by a range of peaks that have exaggerated jagged summits. The drive up the mountain takes one by numerous mountain lakes, and one reflection lake mirrors the summit in its clear blue waters. Waterfalls abound everywhere. The water that flows from the glaciers has a grey soapy appearance derived from the massive ice sheets grinding of the mountain as it imperceptibly moves down the mountainside. Our friend, Steve, and his pastor brother, David, hosted us for the day, and they had much knowledge to share as they guided us along some of the beautiful mountain paths. One of the paths was as beautiful a walk as I have ever taken. The blue mountain lupine was in full bloom with red orange paintbrush and white mountain lily for background. Streams flowed along rock-strewn beds and through green grass hillsides overlooked by towering fir trees. A large deer munched on the grass and did not flinch as we moved closely by. Vistas looked down upon deep valleys and waterfalls. A deep gash in the mountain caused by a flood of fast melting snow several years ago was a jumble of rock that caused multiple cascading streams to flow from the glaciers above–it was a surreal sight, yet, magnificent and powerful. We were totally refreshed by the clean mountain air and the beauty of the sights we beheld.
Seattle, the city, is an impressive place. Approaching by ferry, with the skyscrapers and the space needle looming above the port and waterfront, signals that this is a confident and proud place. The Pikes Place Market is a tourist magnet. Its flower shops, fruit and flower markets, spice stands and organic shops are delightful. Various musicians and street artists abound. The original Starbucks is nearby. Friends, Robert and Jan, graciously guided us to many sights as we rode the streetcar from our hotel into the city center. We have had wonderful days in a wonderful city. WEG