Mt. Rainier…. ahhh. This glorious tower of rock and snow is not to be missed when visiting the Pacific Northwest so in honor of our visit, my parents packed up the car and we headed for Paradise. Of course, after refusing to pee at the designated rest stop, Lena announced she needed to potty. Thankfully I had brought along our Potette – if you travel with a toddler or have a small bladder, this is a handy little apparatus to keep around. Plus the pictures are hilarious. Also, please notice the forlorn look on Laila Eva’s face as she was stuffed into the very back row of the car. This sends me into a giggling fit every time I look at it.
Since there were four Caspersen women in the car, our first stop was to a picnic area where we could eat lunch. It doesn’t take long to figure out that you need to keep us fed at regular intervals if you want to avoid a hangry meltdown. Plus the air conditioning/heating situation in the car was getting intense as my dad and brother were in charge and doing a rather incompetent job. So it was a matter of safety that we all get some time in fresh air to cool our jets.
Because she’s a saint, Laila Eva subjected herself to a day with all of us and Lena could not have been more pleased. Tante Laila is on par with the Frozen princesses in Lena’s eyes and that is a high honor in the toddler world. I love how Lena is looking up to her in this photo.
Lunch consisted of open face sandwiches (obviously, gotta have some Norwegian pride), grilled chicken leftovers and remnants of Lena’s birthday cake. At one point, I looked over to find my 95 pound mother double fisting the cake with frosting everywhere including down her neck. This is a face with no shame in it’s game. Mormor is a sugar addict.
The guys had fun showing Lena all the different birds and she loved that they kept stealing food from the picnic tables. My dad even took her to the base of the waterfall where I’m sure she was subjected to stories of Fossegrimen and other naughty trolls.
Laila Eva and I decided to go check it out as well which may not have been my best plan. Lena came with us but got tired on the climb back up so I carried her on my shoulders. I got some interesting looks coming back up the hillside with my 20 week belly and toddler in tow.
Then it was on to the Visitor Center for another short hike. The weather was gorgeous and it wasn’t horribly crowded so we were able to get some nice pictures. This little deer was hunting for snacks as we approached the trailhead and seemed completely unphased by all the cameras pointed in it’s direction.
Lena had just about reached her hiking quota for the day so it took awhile to get her up the trail. She really wanted to wash her hands for some reason so my mom was a good sport and helped her rinse off on the side of the trail. I was getting crampy from carrying her up the last trail so my dad toted her around on his shoulders before heading back to the Visitor Center for some ice cream.
Right before the end of the trail, we saw another beautiful wildlife specimen which Lena informed us was Sven, the reindeer from Frozen. She was pretty excited about this latest discovery especially as it was so close to us.
We did a quick run through of the gift shop and picked up a Christmas ornament thanks to my mom. Then some ice cream and a family photo and we called it a day. It had been years since I’d been up to Mt. Rainier but the views are just as gorgeous as I remember. Hopefully, I’ll be a bit more agile my next visit so we can explore more of the park – though with two munchkins in tow that might be a bit ambitious!