The National Park in our Backyard

Hanging around at the trailhead

Julie and I lived near Portland, OR for over 20 years and never visited Mount Rainier National Park. On our west coast swing we corrected that mistake and met Jacob and Kaitlin half-way for a hike to the Pinnacle Saddle.

Julie and I dispersed camped outside the park near the Nisqually River and met Jacob and Kaitlin in Longmire at 8am. Here’s a general pro tip for national parks in the USA: always arrive early! We passed through the entry gate with zero wait and just flashed our annual pass. When we left the park in the early afternoon, the line was over a mile long to get in. We’ve seen this over and over again at national parks.

View south from Pinnacle Saddle area

We did the hike and extended a bit to visit a few other local peaks. The weather was perfect with a mix of sun and white clouds, and even some beautiful lenticular clouds around Mt. Rainier. We could see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and more looking south. Thankfully the fires stayed away from this region in 2021.


And so many marmots! We love tracking down these furry friends.