Tipsoo Lake | near Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
We’d been cooped up in the house for weeks. Within days of returning from our last trip to Ascension Island, Luke picked up a nasty little tummy bug and lovingly shared the virus with everyone else in our house. By the time we were back on our feet, I was ready for something epic and outside of my usual stomping grounds.
I’d read several trip reports in the days leading up to our last-minute day trip saying that the wildflowers at Mount Rainier were nearing their peak. With the days sunny, warm, and clear and no plans on the agenda, I decided it was time to set out for a place I’d had bookmarked for months: Tipsoo Lake.
It was nearing mid-afternoon when I decided to go for it. I quickly topped off the gas, bought a few snacks for Luke and I to eat on the drive down, and let my sister pick our travel music (she spared me of the usual Miley Cyrus this time). We hit a little bit of traffic as we headed south, but as soon as we hit Enumclaw, we were in the clear.
Mile by mile, the worries that clouded my mind about my upcoming move faded away. We passed under the wooden entryway to Mount Rainier National Park and continued on, our ears popping as we climbed higher and higher in elevation. The road turned sharply and carried us up, up, and up, until it finally brought us to our destination: Tipsoo Lake.
It did not disappoint. I had never seen so many wildflowers in my entire life!
I took Luke by the hand and we wandered through a sea of blue lupine, white bistort, and magenta paintbrush. We slowly followed the crisscrossing footpaths around the lake, stopping every few seconds to take in the view. The sun broke through the clouds that kept Mount Rainier well hidden, warming us teasingly before it disappeared again.
After about an hour, we decided to continue on in hopes of catching a glimpse of the volcano. My sister voted to swing through the southern part of the park, along Stevens Canyon Road, and then head home again from Longmire. The clouds were thick and our chances of seeing Mount Rainier from the park did not look too good.
We slowly made our way beneath the trees, Lord Huron blaring over the speakers, when all of the sudden, he appeared in my rearview mirror: Mount Rainier, Tahoma himself! At the first opportunity, I pulled over, jumped out of the car, and stood staring with my mouth wide open. Three failed attempts to see the mountain up close over the years only added to the drama of this sighting.
The sun was quickly sliding behind the mountains ahead. I stopped the car one more time at Longmire to take a few more pictures of Rainier before the light was gone for good. Smiling and deeply satisfied with the evening’s visit, my sister, Luke, and I climbed back into our car and set off for home.