Visiting Mount Rainier National Park

 

mount rainier paradise

Sometimes we romanticize places we’ve never been to without appreciating what our own backyard offers. So, while planning my visit back home from Spain, I decided I wanted to go back to Mt. Rainier. I’d visited as a child, but hadn’t been back in years. It was time to see something I had grown up seeing every day with new eyes.

The mountain—that on a clear day and the right angle—looms behind the Seattle skyline, is majestic, wild and BIG. It’s not only the biggest mountain in Washington State, it’s also the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous U.S.

Mt. Rainier isn’t your average, harmless, snow-covered place. In addition to its large size, it’s actually a stratovolcano—one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world and named by the U.S. Geological Survey to be the most dangerous in the United States.

So, if Mt. Rainier were to blow up tomorrow, it’d destroy the surrounding communities (Including my hometown! Time to move, family!) However, upon my visit, I learned that it wouldn’t necessarily need an eruption to trigger destruction. Giant mudflows, called lahars, could potentially be set off at any moment and would give little to no warning to the residents who live in the danger zone.

However, despite the dangers this mountain potentially poses, I promise it’s worth a visit. If you want to see what rugged beauty is; you needn’t go further.

Though the pictures give you a glimpse, I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of Mt. Rainier in-person. Seriously, WOW. After a day of hiking and breathing in all of the fresh mountain air with two of my favorite people, I felt so proud of where I’m from.

Mt. Rainier itself is a National Park, but it is organized by several smaller areas. I went to both Paradise and Sunrise and highly, highly recommend both. 

What place in your hometown/country/province/state/etc. are you most proud of?

Photos © Christine in Spain

Autumnal Paradise in Leavenworth

 

In southern Spain, you knew it was autumn when the trees were full of green leaves one day, and none the next. The sun would slowly transition from its unbearable summer state, and suddenly you could begin sleeping under the blankets again.

Autumn in Andalucía wasn’t celebrated with the onslaught of pumpkin patches, haunted houses, and the ever-coveted pumpkin spice lattes. Instead it was just those few cooler months before Christmas—without Halloween or Thanksgiving to look forward to.

When I was back home for a visit, I got to experience an incredible September and October in Washington State. A long “Indian summer” with sunshine-filled days and vibrant autumn colors that I didn’t realize I missed as much as I did. Naturally, I snapped photos like I’ve never seen an autumn before:

Want an autumn escape? You can find Jetblue flights on flights24.com.

You can’t get much more fall-ish than that!

What’s your favorite thing about the fall?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by a third party.

Leavenworth, Washington: A German Village in the USA

 

Nestled in the Cascade mountains of Washington State is a bit of Bavaria called Leavenworth. The land is about as idyllic as it gets: a vibrant autumn palette spilling out onto the leaves and bushes, babbling creeks and thick forests all surrounded by jagged peaks waiting to be dusted with snow.

The present-day town is small, but inviting—main street makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a German town in the Alps rather than Washington State. Beer halls and German eateries are full of tourists visiting on weekend trips. Boutiques are making sale after sale. It’s only October, but once the town turns on its impressive Christmas lights at the start of December, the town is standing room only—nearly impossible to maneuver through without waiting in a line of some sort for your currywurst and Hefeweizen.

However, Leavenworth wasn’t always so busy—or so German. Historically, the town was on the land of the Yakama, Chinook and Wenatchi tribes, where they were said to have co-existed peacefully. Later, pioneers came to settle what is now Leavenworth in search of gold, bringing in even more settlers, and by the end of the 1800’s a rail line.

With the arrival of the rail line, job opportunities popped up and the local economy flourished. Leavenworth became a hub of logging and the town was thriving…until the Great Northern Railway Company decided to re-route and pulled the rail line out of Leavenworth. This caused the local logging and sawmill industries to collapse, and Leavenworth was dangerously close to becoming a ghost town for many years after.

The great thing about small towns is that there is often a tight-knit community at its backbone. Thankfully, Leavenworth was no exception, and the townspeople rallied together to think of inventive ways to keep their secluded, mountain village from falling by the way-side.

In the 1960’s, more than 30 years after Leavenworth saw its darkest times, the town leaders proposed a unique idea to revive their beloved home: they wanted to give Leavenworth an extreme makeover. With the surrounding mountains as inspiration, the townspeople decided they’d model Leavenworth after a Bavarian village.

The entire downtown area was remodeled in a Bavarian-style, and several festivals were implemented into the town’s calendar. Soon after, tourists began showing up in search of this odd village, and now Leavenworth boasts more than 1 million visitors annually.

Though the main attraction of Leavenworth is its very Bavarian downtown area, I was equally impressed by the natural beauty of the area. Autumn has never looked so good.

Gorgeous, isn’t it?