July 19, Day 48: Our day began at about 3:30 am, as we were intent on seeing the sunrise from Mount Rainier. The morning was chilly and clear, and the views brilliant.
Groggy, we were out the door by 4 am with a thermos of coffee to start the 90-minute drive from our (very) modest hotel in Packwood. We wound our way up the road in the dark to Sunrise Point, on the northeast side of Mount Rainier. To our surprise, there was a boisterous crowd already there, toting Nikons, Cannons, and tripods. We desired a more peaceful scene, so meandered further up the road towards the visitor center.
We stopped on a wide shoulder off the road, with a broad clearing and view of Rainier’s face. Bundled up under a blanket, we watched the sunrise. Perfect. As the sun started to come up, Rainier was at first brilliant white with snow. Then, as the sun crept closer to the horizon, Rainier blossomed orange, then pink. The pink slowly dissolved back to white, and the day began. As the sun rose, the shadows on the lower slopes resolved to green trees and flowers.
We huddled on the Lee side of the Jeep with a heavy blanket wrapped around us and savored the romantic, peaceful, magical moment watching the sunrise render its beauty against the mountain.
We rolled back down the mountain to our (very) modest hotel for pancakes with fresh-picked blackberries and some R&R by the “pool” at our (very) modest hotel. Next up – hunting the Comet NEOWISE that evening, looking for the perfect shot over Rainier.