Last week I tried to describe Mount Rainier to a friend based on facts that I knew. My husband’s family has lived in the Seattle area for decades. They have told me about the mountain, and I’ve seen pictures. But I had never been to Seattle myself, so I had never actually seen it. I had heard that it was large, but I’ve been to the Alps, the Tetons, and the Rocky Mountains–I’ve seen tall mountains. In the back of my head, I really thought everyone was exaggerating just a little bit. I was sure it was big, and beautiful–but so are lots of other mountains.
Mount Rainier is so much more massive than anything I have seen. At 14,409 feet, it is the most prominent peak in the lower 48 states. I could see it from just about everywhere I went. It wasn’t like in North Carolina where you can see the distant mountains as blue bumps on the horizon. I could see the snow topped cone of the dormant volcano from 100 miles away, looming over the horizon.
We spent a day in the Mt. Rainier National Park. We threw snowballs in July–well, I threw snowballs–and we hiked a few miles into a mountain meadow area about a third of the way up the mountain. The heavy snows from last winter were still covering many parts of the paved trails. We took picture after picture because the beauty of the area is beyond words.
Being able to learn from books and videos is wonderful. The internet can take you to places you can’t access and can connect us to the world. But it doesn’t compare to getting out in the world and experiencing it for yourself. You have to just jump in.