The Pacific Northwest is a haven for outdoor aficionados and city dwellers alike. With cities like Portland and Seattle that are driving distance from some of the most beautiful and unique natural sights in the world, this area of the United States is highly coveted for its ability to fit into the itineraries of all types of travelers – with a rain jacket in tow, of course!
Recently, I had the opportunity to enjoy a 3-day Seattle getaway. Over those days, I visited some of Seattle's neighborhood cocktail bars like Zig Zag Cafe, charming shops like Pike Street Press and noshed on some of the best mini donuts I have ever had from Pike Place Market's Daily Dozen Doughnuts. I even escaped on a day trip to the snowy wonderland of Mount Rainier National Park with Evergreen Escapes.
I chose Evergreen Escapes, a family-owned tour guide company, because their small group trips are all-inclusive and offer a lesser-traveled experience through the beautiful natural scenery of the Pacific Northwest. During my guided tour with them, I was provided with complimentary pick-up and drop-off at my hotel, a delicious breakfast, transportation, snacks throughout the day, a fresh lunch and all the necessary gear for the excursion. The entrance fees into Mount Rainier National Park were also taken care of.
My day trip with them began bright and early with a 7:30 a.m. pickup from my hotel, the newly renovated Kimpton Alexis Hotel, from which we began the two-hour drive to Mount Rainier. When we arrived at the base of Mount Rainier and took a pit stop at the Visitor's Center, the lush, green landscape was truly breathtaking. Little did we know, that after 30 more minutes of driving to our final stop at Paradise – an area of the park named for its famous views – we would be standing in, to my surprise, upwards of 15 feet of snow.
Because the weather is constantly changing on Mount Rainier, our guide, Elk, told us that no two trips are the same. While snow can be expected from the months of December to March, the amount may fluctuate. However, most of Evergreen Escapes's guided tours of Mount Rainier include snowshoeing, while trips in the late spring and summer are more likely to include hiking.
Since we visited in the winter, we had the opportunity to gear up in snowshoes and walk around the snowy utopia, taking pictures and enjoying the Narnia-like scenery. In some areas, snow was piled so high, it was like standing in front of a three-story building!
For more information about Evergreen Escapes and to plan a a guided day trip or multi-day trip in the Pacific Northwest, visit EvergreenEscapes.com. Or snowshoe closer to home, visit the Cleveland Metroparks' hiking trails during the winter months with snowshoes rented from the Big Met Golf Course or the Hinckley Lake Boathouse & Store.