Pacific Northwest Part 2: Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Rainier, & Seattle

Here’s the second part of me and my brother’s Pacific NW trip! You can read Part 1 here, where we went to Mt. Saint Helens National Monument, Mt. Rainier National Park, and Seattle. At the end of the post, you can read more about the hikes we did!

This was our first experience in Washington, and it didn’t disappoint. After leaving Portland, I was eager to get back into nature and the remote wilderness. On the way to our Airbnb in Packwood, Washington, we hiked Mt. Saint Helens — a very unique place, but it definitely felt lonely. It probably didn’t help that I had just read one-and-a-half historic crime books, so I was already on edge. No serial killers emerged from the volcanic ash, thankfully.

We then made our way to Packwood to an glorious Airbnb that was nestled along the Cowlitz River. There were wild elk, which was our first time seeing large animals on this trip. During our stay, we visited Mt. Rainier, watched Wimbledon, watched the US Women’s Gymnastic’s Olympic Trials, and grilled (for the first time, I’m ashamed to say). My brother ended up eating 7 burgers in 2 days, so we were eager to get out of there and head to Seattle for some Asian food!

In Seattle, we first hiked Mount Si, which was the greatest elevation change for a hike we’d done so far. My brother, who was sick, was finding it a lot rougher than I was, which is saying something since he is more fit than I am! When we got to the city, a few friends showed us around. My favorite places had to be Marymoor dog park (where dogs roam free!), Molly Moon’s ice cream, Din Tai Fung (we went there twice), Seattle Public Library (I used to be a pre-architecture major), and Cafe O Dessert. It was also fun to visit Crate and Barrel to brainstorm my future apartment! Below are some photos from this part of the trip!

I definitely threw this together without sketches — my patience was lacking
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Spirit Lake with Mt. Saint Helens peeking out from behind the clouds
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Entering the gorgeous Paradise meadows area
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A marmot at Paradise!!!



  • Mt. Saint Helens
    • Norway Pass to Mt. Margaret: This eerie but beautiful hike takes you along matchstick forests to a view of Spirit Lake and Mt. Saint Helens. It was very remote with very few other hikers, but the remnants of the 1980 volanic eruption could be seen everywhere — in the new growth and even the ash blown to the edge of the lake. We didn’t make it to Mt. Margaret due to clouds rolling in, but it would’ve been a 11.4 mile round trip.
  • Mt. Rainier:
    • Paradise’s Skyline Rim to Panorama Point: This was my brother’s favorite hike thus far. It climbs steeply in the beginning to reveal what many consider to be the most picturesque alpine meadow in the area. There are plenty of people, snow slopes to slide down, and on a clear day, views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. Saint Helens, and of course, Mt. Rainier. It’s less than 6 miles round trip, but if the eastern half of the loop isn’t covered with snow, I’ve heard it’s a lengthier, but more rewarding hike.
    • Sunrise’s Fremont Trail to Fremont Lookout: We were originally planning on hiking the Burroughs Mountain Loop, but a ranger stopped us part way due to the weather, so we ended up hiking about 6 miles to Fremont Lookout and still got some nice views of the scenery directly below.
  • Mount Si: A challenging 7+, 3300’+ hike through mostly forest, but opening up to the Haystacks above. We saw a few dogs do it and were quite amazed! I don’t recommend doing this one sick.

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