As I mentioned in my previous post, the primary reason we stayed at Paradise Lodge at Mt. Rainier was to take in both the sunset and the sunrise. Now, that’s a risky prospect. The lodge fills early, necessitating reservations month in advance. And, if you’re remotely familiar with Washington state you know that the weather can be a bit…well…rainy. One cannot assume that a September weekend will be sunny. For instance, it is the 17th while I am writing this. It is not a weekend, but the forecast for this weekend is not great. Today? Gloomy overcast skies with rain. It could have easily been like this last weekend. We could have stayed at the lodge and not seen the mountain, though it towered right in front of us. It is what it is.
However, we were blessed with amazing weather. Uh-maze-ing.
When I came off the hill from my hike I headed for the room. Now, we have been in the lodge before, but have not seen the rooms and have not stayed there. I did not have great expectations. First, we paid $120 for a room with two twin beds and bathrooms down the hall. You can pay more for in-bathroom rooms, but we weren’t there for the room, so why bother? I had also spoken to a couple of people who had stayed there, and read enough outrage on Yelp, to know that this was not going to be a spa-esque lodge. Shrug. We were fine with that. We were expecting quaint, not luxurious.
I tapped on the door to our room, husband opened it and before me spread the expansive shoe box that was our room. I don’t have any pictures, so I’m just going to have to attempt to describe it. I asked the husband to guesstimate the width and length because I suck at that sort of thing. 12 feet wide, 30 feet long. That’s what we’re going with. There was a sink just to the right of the door, which was nice. Quickly followed by twin bed one. Small bedside table between twin bed one and twin bed two. Ditty bitty desk built under a small window (if I laid my torso on the desk I could look out the window and see part of the mountain, which was cool). To the right of that a small open alcove with a short bar for hanging clothes.
That about covers it. Wait! We’re changing the width of the room. We just realized that the twin beds took up the entire width of the room, with, perhaps a foot and a half at the bottom that required some shimmying to get by. So, we’re saying the room was more like 7 1/2 feet wide…maybe 8.
Cozy. It was cozy. That’s the word we’ll use. The lodge also offers an opportunity to disconnect as there is no wifi and no television.
The lodge is very rustic looking. Lots of wood, large fireplaces in the common area. Actually, if you’d like to know more this article is pretty good. What I love about the lodge are the massive painted light shades that hang from the ceiling of the common area in a variety of sizes. The flowers and plants that adorn the light shades are native to the area and were painted by Dale Thompson, who was once the chief naturalist of the park. They are beautiful.
The food at the lodge? Meh. Again, you don’t stay there for the rooms or the food. You stay for the proximity to “her”. The capital “M”. The hill that takes your breath away….both figuratively and literally. Therefore, I’m not even going to talk about the food. I’ll simply leave you with the aforementioned, “Meh.”
After dinner we went back to the room and cracked open a bottle of wine and waited for the sun to begin her descent. We then walked down the road a bit until we had a view of the valley before us, the Tatoosh range to our left, the mountain to the right. I ran around with my camera taking way too many pictures. Adjusting ISO, aperture, shutter speed. Adjusting, shooting, moving. Adjusting, shooting, moving. I’m going to need a tripod if I’m going to do low light with any true success. When the sun really dropped and the world turned red I had the camera sitting on a rock wall to try to reduce camera shake. However, because I had to have the ISO way up I ended up with a bit more noise than I would have liked.
Look at me talking all photography speak like I know what I’m talking about.
The sunset was pretty, but not breathtaking as there were few clouds in the sky. Still, I was content when we walked back to the lodge. Another glass of wine in the room and we wandered back outside to look at the stars. Now that was breathtaking. I want to figure out how to take shots of that! There were a bazillion stars and you could see the swath of the Milky Way draped across the sky. We stood, gaping, for some time before calling it a day and heading in for the night.
One final picture:
What’s this make you think of?
I’ll give you a hint: