I met up with this lovely couple from Oregon on Mount Rainier for their adventure engagement session. It was a hot day, with temperatures hovering in the low 90s near sea level as I drove towards the mountain that afternoon. The forecast called for a high in the low 80s where we’d be and I figured it would be a bit colder once we got up a ways, so it would be very warm up there, but not too, too hot… When I arrived at the parking lot at 5200 feet elevation, my car was still saying 90F and on this side of the mountain, there was definitely not a lot of shade. Go figure. But my favorite mountain was out in all of it’s glory, so we loaded up on the bug spray, gathered our things, and started our climb. It didn’t take long before we were all getting sweaty from the heat, but we pressed on, looking up towards where we’d be and the spectacular views we’d have up there. I didn’t get a single bug bite out there (I’m a picaridin believer now!), but the flies sure were more than a little annoying, buzzing and circling constantly, buzzing right up to my ears, particularly whenever I’ve got the camera up against my face and I’m trying to focus on getting the shot. Thankfully, once we got a ways past the tree line, the bugs thinned out considerably. We even got to cool off next to a huge wall of snow just before we emerged at our final destination.
Words can’t even come close to describing how absolutely stunning it was up there. I had never hiked this trail before, but nowadays, it is so easy to research a location online enough to know it will be good before you ever make the trek. So I knew it would be very, very good, but… I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for how incredible it actually would be. With some high clouds moving in, setting things up for an amazing sunset, we were in absolute awe up there. On one side of us, the mountain sloped up and up, with waterfalls from melting snow cascading down, eventually feeding the rivers below. And to the other side of us, row upon row of jagged peaks stretched as far as the eye could see, punctuated by two of Washington’s 4 other volcanoes, Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams. It was breathtaking. And these two rocked it up there, despite the considerable climb we made during the heat. Her dress looked absolutely beautiful and we had an incredible time exploring the viewpoints and watching the colors in the sky unfold as sunset approached. Oh, yes, it was a gorgeous sunset for sure! We even saw some cute critters on the way up, along with those Dr. Seuss flower things that look like miniature Truffula trees, but are apparently called the Western Pasqueflower.
Thank you both for the amazing adventure. It was so much fun spending the evening with you up there and I can’t wait to photograph your wedding in Hood River next summer! Enjoy a few of the many highlights!