6/28/2010 08:35:00 PM

Day 39 (June 14, 2010)– Another Pay Day

     Today was pay day again. I was really surprised by how much I made busing. Originally, I had decided no to climb the mountain due to cost, but now I am thinking it might be possible if my tips stay the same or go up. But they still haven’t fixed my room and board costs.

     This time I skipped my manager and went to their manger, Wes. Wes had me call a few people and get the run around and then he got the run around, so he got his boss involved and hopefully it will get fixed, but we will see how long it takes.

6/27/2010 07:17:00 PM

Day 38 (June 13, 2010)– The Dreaded Brunch

     Today was the first of the Paradise Inn Dining Room Brunches. It was very chaotic, because I got there late due to some miss communication on what time to be there but it wasn’t my fault. Once Brunch started we got really busy, and about the time I got the table turned the table was re-sat. After Brunch was over and all the people left, they let the dining room staff eats the remaining food.

     Oh, my God, the food is amazing. More or less the desserts are amazing. Tarts, cakes, and strawberries. I will try to get some pictures next week, but I might be too busy.

6/26/2010 07:10:00 PM

Day 37 (June 12, 2010)– More World Cup and shift switching

Last night one of my co-workers asked to trade shifts with me and I agreed as long as we could trade shifts today and I could watch the U.S. game. I was really disappointed the U.S. tied, but hey we tied England. Though, getting to what the game also meant getting up a 6:00 AM to work the breakfast shift. But hey, I got to watch the game.

6/26/2010 06:29:00 PM

Day 36 (June 11, 2010)– World Cup

     Today is the big day the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The first game is South Africa verses Mexico and guess what I have to work so I missed the first game of the world cup but I did get to see France tie Uruguay. It was a good game, though the game times really suck out here on the west coast: 4:30 AM, 7:00 AM, and 11:30 AM. I don’t mind the 7 and 11:30 but that 4:30 is killer. Right now, I have to walk down to the boys dorm to watch the games, its about a 10 minute walk and really sucks when its raining, snowing, windblowing or just in general.

Yet again, I don't not halve off to watch the U.S. play England tomorrow which really sucks.

6/25/2010 09:28:00 PM

Day 35 (June 10, 2010)– The Turks Arrive

     So today, the Turkish arrived. Basically they are a group of like 15 guys and 6 girls who are from Turkey. Two of them work in the dining room and a couple more have yet to arrive. There are five in the dining room. The three guys work on the floor, and two of the girls are hostess. For the most part, they all speak really good Enlgish. Sometimes their English is a little hard to understand, but we work though it.

The guys are named:

  • Berkay - the Turkish Godfather, he has been working at Paradise Inn for 5 years and has recruited about half the Turks
  • Metin - my new best friend, not sure how this came about but he calls me his best friend
  • Arda – started as a dish washer but got promoted to busser and his English is the hardest to understand

    The girls are named Esme and Irma. Both are nice and Esme is teaching me Turkish along with Berkay, and Metin.

6/20/2010 08:38:00 PM

Day 34 (June 9, 2010)– Mount Saint Helen’s Trip

Earlier in this blog, I mentioned that it was the 30th anniversary of the Mount Saint Helen’s eruption. Well today, I went to visit Mount Saint Helen’s. I went with 3 of my friends: John, Libby and Nadine. We had to take this long out of the way route due to the short route was closed. So we drove up to the Johnson Observatory.

We timed out trip just perfectly. We got to one of the overlooks just in time for the mountain to come out from the fog bank.

The area around the Johnson Observatory and the overlook was very interesting; despite being 30 years later much of the land around the mountain is still dead. All that remains of the lush forest that once lived there are the tree stumps from where the trees were ripped off during the eruption.

We had planned on going hiking but the wind was blowing like 10 miles per hour, it was raining, and it was like 40 degrees out and we were wimps. So we spent a couple of hour exploring the Observatory

6/19/2010 07:33:00 PM

Day 34 (June 8, 2010)– More Wonderland and two repeat trails

     Today, I went hiking with one of the Singaporeans, Jonathan. I call him John for short. I think he is my favorite of the Singaporeans. I decided that we were going to hike a short section of Wonderland that I knew the trail conditions on were not bad. By short I mean 2.4 miles. We started out at Box Canyon. Box Canyon is a canyon carved by a glacier and has a glacier stream running through it. One of the interesting things about this canyon is the rocks have been polished by the glacier.

     The plan was to hike from Box Canyon to Maple Creek Camp and further if the trail condtions where ok (the rangers said they weren’t but we were going to see). So we started our hike, and about a half mile into it we saw two black-tailed deer. They ran away to fast for me to get there pictures. They were not the most intresting thing we saw. The next animals we saw were two elk. They were out of photo range. But still not the most amazing sight, well really it was a surprise seeing as I almost stepped on it. Now what did I almost step on you might ask. A snake, yes a snake.

     I was talking to John when I took a step and as I was taking my next step I noticed this snake in my path so I jumped backwards. My first thought was “I almost stepped on a snake and is it poisonous” and my next thought was “wow, this is cool.” (I was pretty sure upon looking at the snake he wasn’t poisonous but I checked with a ranger when I got back and found out he is a common _____________) Past the snake, we continued to follow the trail to the Maple Creek Camp Site. At the site we ate lunch and then followed the trail a bit further. However, we meet a slight problem. The problem came in the form of a rather large creek. I would be just fine wading it with my water proof boots, but John was wearing tennis shoes. So we decided not to cross the stream.

     We turned around and headed back the way we came, sort of. Just after the bridge we passed on the way to the campsite the trail forks and heads to a river view point. We decided to take a different route back to my car. Part of this route involved hiking up the road, but that was so much fun because we could stop and enjoy the scenery that most people drive right by.

     After we got back to my car, we had plenty of time so I took John out to hike Grove of the Patriarchs and to Silver Falls. Though this time I took the short .3 mile trail out to Silver Falls rather than the 2 mile loop.

6/18/2010 09:26:00 PM

Day 32 and 33 (June 6 and 7, 2010) – Work and Planning

     Today, I worked the Lunch and Dinner shift so I didn’t have time to do anything fun, but I did start planning my days off. The plan was to hike another section of Wonderland that was about 8 miles but half the section is under snow and the other half is flooded out so I am just going to wing it tomorrow.

6/14/2010 06:11:00 PM

Day 31 (June 5, 2010)– Tragedy on the Mountain Confirmed

     Today, it has been confirmed that one person is still missing and is presumed dead. It has been a sobering experience for many of us. We all know the risks, but was a sobering experience. It was a reminder of the risks we experience living and working on the side of Mount Rainier. It has been confirmed that 7 people were buried and the 6 that were dug out were on a rope line so they were found together. The seventh person is still missing and at this point the park service has called of the rescue effort due to dangerous conditions. They are waiting until the conditions get less dangerous and even then they might not find the body until the snow melts.

6/13/2010 06:08:00 PM

Day 30 (June 4, 2010)– Hiking Problems

     Nothing new to report on the avalanche.

     Today I just worked a breakfast shift. This meant that I had the whole day to myself. It was rainy and cold so I wimped out on hiking. Though that was only part of the reason, I have now hiked every trail that is completely or mostly snow free. The rangers at the Jackson Visitor Center know who I am and the one guy has learned the trails I regularly ask about and no longer has to look up the trail conditions of the trails I really want to hike. Since I couldn’t and wouldn’t go hiking, I went to Longmire and used the net for a couple of hour and then hung out with the Singaporeans for the rest of the day.

6/13/2010 05:48:00 PM

Day 29 (June 3, 2010)– West Side Road Hiking and Tragedy on the Mountain

     Today I worked the Breakfast and Dinner shift which means I have a long break in the middle. The weather today was amazing perfectly clear from 6:00 a.m. to mid evening. I could see the mountain for the first time in like a week, so I had to go hiking. I decide that I was going to hike as far as I could up the West Side Road of the Park. You might as why I was hiking a section of roadway, well Mount Rainier has a problem of the glacier feed creeks flooding and ruining the roadway. Currently two of the parks roadways are closed due to flooding damage, West Side and Carbon River. Both of these closers create a problem for hiking the Wonderland Trail (but I will go into that at a later date). So the only way to get up the see the West Side Road is to hike up it. I had about 4 hours to hike and 45 minute drive each way. I wasn’t going to have time to hike the entire road (its 12 miles long but I could do part of it). I started up the road and the first thing I came to was the word “bear” and an arrow drawn on the trail so I had to spend a couple of minutes looking for the bear. No, I didn’t see it. I continued up the road and for the first quarter mile was wondering why the road was closed it looked pretty good to me but then again I grew up driving up and down a gravel driveway. After a quarter mile, I understood why the road was closed. The river had created a couple of gullies that most vehicles would not be able to cross though those with high ground clearance could make it.
      The next part of the trail was all up hill. About three quarters of the way to my goal, I realized that it was 2:00 p.m. and I had to be at work at 4:30 if I wanted time to eat before shift. So I turned around and headed back (I didn’t want to but I am here to work). I made it to work on time and with time it eat before shift, but just barely. On the hike, I had noticed a helicopter flying around the top of Mount Rainier. While I was eating I found out the cause of the helicopter, it was an avalanche on Ingram Glacier (I know my mother has posted that I was ok and not involved in the avalanche). The early counts had 11 groups on the mountain at the time of the avalanche. Later in the day, we found out that most the parties had made it down ok. Including one commercial group that turned back shortly before the avalanche. At night fall, the rumor had 6 buried and dug out, and 1 still missing.

6/12/2010 08:46:00 PM

Day 28 (June 2, 2010)– Puyallup Shopping Trip

For my second day off I decide to go to the nearest town with actual shopping. The towns around Mount Rainier are like very small (people from Lenoir City think half the size of Loudon without the fast food or tick tock). The closest town is called Puyallup. It is about the size of Lenoir City. I had a list of items I needed.

  •  Granola Bars 
  • New work shoes
  • Insoles
  • Large jar of Nutella (for Bree) 
  • A day off the mountain
     So I picked up all my items at Wal-Mart (for the Florida folks, I really miss shopping at Publix) and for my day of the mountain I spent the day downloading stuff off the internet at a local café I found.


6/11/2010 05:45:00 PM

Day 27 (June 1, 2010)– Sliver Falls and Grove of the Patriarch

     After much debate with myself and a ranger’s recommendations, I decided to hike two trails, Silver Falls and Grove of the Patriarchs. They are connected by a 1 mile long trail so I was going to combine them into one hike, however on my way out to the trailhead I got a little distracted. I got about 2 minutes down the road from Paradise when I spotted a fox lying on top of an embankment by the road. I figured I would take a few minutes and take some pictures. I ended up spending an hour and a half watching this fox. Ok so most of you are saying it’s just a fox. You were right until I noticed something pocking its head out from a small crevice at the base of the embankment. This changed the course of my day.

     Yes, that is a kit (baby fox). This is the reason I got distracted. The kit kept sticking his head out of the hole like he was going to come out, so I decided to wait for him to come out. As I was being quite and waiting for him to come out, I was keeping an eye on the mom. Out of the cornor of my eye, I see mom get pounced by this black thing. It was a second kit. The first one still hadn’t come out of his hole, so I was watching the kit run around. Then all of a sudden a the second kit is tackled by a third. This sight kept getting better. As the second and third kits were playing, I noticed a fourth kit watching. I continued to watch and was thinking, this is a lucky sight and since I know where the den is, I can easily come back. About this time the first kit, decides to join the other three. They four of them start running around and playing. I couldn’t believe it, I just started holding the button down on the camera to get as many pictures as possible of them.

     After an hour and half of watching them, the mom decided that I much have some food and decided to approach me. At this point I left. From there I drove out to my trailhead on the eastern side of the park.

     I started on the Silver Falls Trail. The trail first goes past a hot spring. From there the trail follows a large creek or small river. After about a mile, Silver Falls appeared. Silver Falls gets its name from the color of the water. The falls is fed by an active glacier so the water is white in color.

     It was getting late in the day so I decided to hike straight back to my car rather than hiking the additional 3 miles to the Grove of the Patriarchs. After I made it to my car, I drove to the Grove of the Patriarchs. I know this is cheating but it was getting late and I didn’t want to be hiking at dusk in cougar country alone.

     When I got to the Grove of the Patriarchs, I decided that I would hike the 1.1 mile loop. The loop follows a crystal clear stream. This spring is feed by an inactive glacier so it doesn’t have the white material that other streams are plagued with. After a short walk, the trail crosses a suspension bridge to a large island.

After the bridge, I entered the Grove of the Patriarchs. Grove of the Patriarchs is a stand of tree that is over 1000 years old. These trees were over 150 feet tall and an diameter of 5 feet. It was very impressive.

On my way back, I ran into some of the other employees from Singapore. They were amazed I was hiking by myself, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. We talked for a bit and then I went back to my car and headed back to Paradise.

6/08/2010 06:55:00 PM

Day 26 –Pay Day and Day Off Planning

     Today I got my first pay check. This was great other than they messed up, on charging me room and board. I am working on getting it straightened out but we will see how long it takes. I have the next two days off, so most of my time is spent trying to figure out what and where I want to hike.

     My current plan without taking to the rangers about trail conditions is to drive down to the east side of the park and hike the section of Wonderland Trail that runs from Box Canyon to Narada Fall then up to Paradise and then find someone to drive me back to my car, or if that is not possible hike to Pinnacle Peak (which is in the Tatoosh Range and then go to the top of the Tatoosh).

     After talking to the rangers both trails were ruled out. Wonderland due to flood washout and Pinnacle due to avalanche risk. So I am still kind of up in the air about my first day off. The second day I am going to Pullayup and get some new work shoes.

6/07/2010 06:56:00 PM

Day 24 and 25– Busy as a Bee

Since this weekend is a holiday weekend the hotel was at about 80% capacity which was really good considering the weather (snow and foggy). I was working both lunch and dinner shifts so that meant we were really busy, no sooner did I get a table cleared and re-set would it be filled again. This meant I was always moving and having something to do. Despite being busy, it was more fun than the days where we had no one.

In case you haven't noticed or figured it out most these posts are about a week behind due to no internet in Paradise (they still tell us its coming but I am not holding my breath)

6/06/2010 05:53:00 PM

Day 23 – Rainy Day Fun

I had off until 5 p.m. and was going to go hiking, but that didn’t work out due to the rain and snow. So I hung out in the Paradise Inn Lobby and read my book, knitted, and played cards with a couple of people who were off. Dinner service was really busy though.

I do realize that I haven't posted a daily picture of Mount Rainier take just after midnight while it was clear for a hour.

6/05/2010 05:50:00 PM

Day 22 – Paradise to Longmire

     Today was an interesting day. I was scheduled to work both lunch and dinner today, but after lunch. The assistant manager Kyle told me I was getting to close to overtime so he gave me dinner off. I talking to the new busser, Anna, and she was looking for someone to hike with and somewhere to hike.

     Since I now had all this free time, we decide to go hiking. The next step was to pick a trail. One of the trails runs from Paradise to Longmire and the bottom half of the trail is part of Wonderland, so it was high on my must hike list. I suggested it and we went over to the Jackson Visitor Center (JVC), to talk to the rangers about the trail conditions. She told us that we definitely need snowshoes if we didn’t want to posthole the first half of the trail. (Potholing is taking a step and sinking knee deep or more into the snow) So Anna and I borrowed snowshoes from the JVC and went on our way down the mountain for a 5 mile trek. The trail could really be divided into three sections: Above Canyon Road, Below Canyon Road, and Wonderland.

     The above canyon road section was a little tricky due to the fresh snow and the inexperience using snowshoes on both mine and Anna’s part. We followed this creek down. The creek was really intresting because it was flowing though a 5 foot canyon of snow.

     We made it too canyon road, and stopped to take picture of us on top of the snow bank before starting the Below Canyon Road section.

     There was only one problem. We couldn’t find the trail head for the next leg of our journey. The Above section had been marked with poles but not the below. Since the creek had gotten bigger, we didn’t want to just wing it down the mountain because knowing my luck we would end up on the wrong side of the creek. So we hiked down the road, instead of the trail to the Narada Fall, which was the starting point for the section of Wonderland we were going to hike.

    We made it to Narada, and started down the mountain. As we got below the falls, we had some gorgeous views if the falls. Since this trail is less traveled finding the trail at points was hard and sometimes we came to forks in the foot prints we were fallowing and had to pick a direction. We both decided that bridges were a good sign we were going the right way. On the other hand some bridges presented a challenge on how to cross them. The snow was 5 feet deep in places and was melting of the bridges so sometimes we had a 5 foot vertical drop to get down to the bridges. On those, we walked down to the creek and rock hopped across it was safer. On another bridge, we walked across the snow so we were about 10 feet up from the creek bed.

     From the bridge the snow started to disappear, which was really nice. The trail then passed through one of the large glacier fed stream bed (I wish I had pictures but we were in a hurry because we were running out of time to make a shuttle back up the mountain). The last section of the trail was though the a grove of old growth forest, but this wasn’t my favorite part. Anna and I were chatting away when we came across a Black-Tailed Dear about 15 feet away from us. This was cool, but my favorite part was the deer tracks we came across. First we saw the deer tracks, the deer was simply walking down the trail, and a little while later there were cougar tracks on top of the deer. As we continued to walk we could watch the tracks spread out as the cougar chased the deer. No, we did not see the cougar, though I wish we had.

With a 1 minute to spare we made it to Longmire and out shuttle back up the mountain.

Here are the rest of the pictures from this hike, click here

Wonderland Progress

6/04/2010 05:34:00 PM

Wonderland Trail

Wonderland Trail is a 93 mile trail that circles Mount Rainier. Most people thru hike the trail in anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks. Most people take between 8 – 10 days. Now, I know some of you are saying no one can hike 93 mile in 24 hours. You are right but some did run 93 miles in 24 hours.

My main goal for the summer is to hike all of Wonderland Trail. I am not going to thru hike it, I am going to break it up into one day sections or an overnight whenever possible. One section of the trail, I will have to take days off work in order to hike because of glacier flooding washing a road out. This is my big goal for the summer. Here is a map of Wonderland Trail. The trail is in yellow and I will highlight the sections I have hiked in other colors

6/03/2010 05:28:00 PM

Day 20 – Rampart Ridge

     Today was my first day off since my arrival. I decided that I was going to go hiking. I decided to hike a loop called Rampart Ridge. Rampart Ridge is a 5 mile trail. I though 5 miles isn’t that long of a trail. Yea, I was wrong. In the first .5 miles of the trail was part of a small trail called Trail of Shadows.

     Trail of Shadows is a easy trail that runs though some mineral spring and the resort built by the Longmire family. The history in the trail was fairly interesting. My favorite part was the spring that the resort claimed could heal any illness and the sign next to the spring read “DO NOT DRINK – the water can make you sick.” That is really ironic.

     From there the trail goes upward 1,200 feet over the next mile. It was a fairly hard climb for me because I am still not fully adjusted to the change in elevation. The weather had been fairly iffy to begin with and as I reached the top of the ridge it started to rain. So the view from the top of the ridge was kind of sucky. Though I could tell on a clear day it would be amazing. But the forest on the way up was so lush and green.

     From the view point the trail heads down the other side of the ridge and connects with the, drum roll please, Wonderland Trail (for those that don’t know what Wonderland is, I will be going a separate post on it in a few days). The small part of Wonderland I did hike (1.4 miles) was all downhill so it was fun.

To see all my pictures from this hike click here.

6/02/2010 05:09:00 PM

Day 19 – Seattle Fun

     As I mentioned last time, my roommate (Bree) and I had plans to go to Seattle. We got a late start due to me having to work, but they let me leave early so we were on the road by 10:40 a.m. Today was both a great and sucky day to go to Seattle. The weather was amazing today it was like 50 degree and clear, and the best part was NO SNOW or RAIN. I got to see the top of the mountain for the first time in a couple of days. The drive to Seattle was pretty uneventful, other than not always being sure we were going the right direction. I was an idiot and brought my G.P.S. but not the charger. But we got to Seattle and found the R.E.I store. For those that don’t know R.E.I. is a huge outdoor equipment supplier.

     Bree need new hiking boots and a backpack since she is going to summit (climb to the top) Mount Rainier. I am slightly jealous because I will not get a chance to do it this year due to the cost. I had been thinking about getting a hiking bladder and day pack and since the one I wanted was on sale I got it. I also picked up a pair of hiking pants.

     After R.E.I., we stopped a coffee shop. We kind of had to, its Seattle, the home of coffee cafés. I upload the last bunch of blog post while she finished up an essay for one of her summer classes. From there, we drove by the Space Needle. We were going to do some more of the touristy things but ran out of time.

     We were going to have dinner with her brother and best friend. On the way there we had to stop at Bree’s favorite bakery “Wheatless in Seattle.” Bree is allergic to gluten and as the name suggest the bakery is a gluten free bakery. It made some wonderful chocolate cupcakes.

     From there we drove to the University of Washington campus to pick up Bree best friend, Gavin. Gavin is studying aerospace engineering. So basically, we discussed different aspect of our 3 different colleges, and Gavin telling me various stories about Bree, and place I had to visit next time I am in Seattle. Bree’s brother made us a good dinner, and we hung out for a bit and then went back to the mountain.

     Here is the daily Mount Rainier Picture.