Conquering the Mood Swings of Mt. Tahoma, AKA The Ever-Pouring Tap of Washington State

Oh, the majestic Mt. Tahoma! Wait, you’ve never heard of Mt. Tahoma? Ah, my dear wanderlusting spirits, perhaps you know her by her stage name – Mt. Rainier. This snowy seductress towers over Washington State like a queen over her realm, cloaking herself in clouds and mystery, and occasionally, in a whopping great amount of snow. But make no mistake, this isn’t your average mountain – it’s a stratovolcano with mood swings. One minute she’s serene and inviting, the next she’s shrouded in mist, throwing tantrums with gusty winds. Talk about a diva, right?

Our journey to the top (or as close as legally and physically possible) starts at the crack of dawn – because, as any seasoned Rainier visitor will tell you, the mountain makes its own weather. You thought you were the boss of your raincoat? Think again. Here, Mt. Rainier decides when you will don that fetching piece of waterproof gear. The ascent (by foot, mind you, because helicopters are reserved for the likes of James Bond) is both breathtaking and breath-taking-away. Seriously, you’ll need to catch your breath, not just because of the views but because the air is thinner and the paths are… let’s just say Mother Nature didn’t design them with your comfort in mind.

Along the way, you might spot the elusive marmot, a creature that looks like a squirrel who’s been hitting the gym. These little guys are the unofficial welcoming committee, and they’re surprisingly photogenic, so keep your cameras at the ready. But remember, like all celebrities, they don’t appreciate paparazzi, so maintain a respectful distance.

Reaching the summit (or again, as close as your trembling legs will take you) presents a view so stunning that it could make a grown man weep. It’s a panorama that stretches across the Pacific Northwest, with a visibility that could only be described as ‘on a clear day, you can see tomorrow’.

In all, Mt. Tahoma – our dear Rainier – is not just a mountain. She’s a proving ground for adventurers, a muse for photographers, and a wake-up call for anyone who’s ever said, ‘How hard can it be to climb a mountain?’ To that, Rainier responds, ‘Hold my glaciers.’

So, pack your bags, prepare your legs for a workout they’ll never forget, and most importantly, bring a sense of humor. You’ll need it when you realize you’ve packed five granola bars but forgot water. Adventure awaits at Mt. Rainier, and she’s got a sense of humor too – mostly involving your attempts to keep dry. Happy trails, my intrepid explorers!