“It’s so surreal hiking through these meadows in the morning then reading about mass shootings in the afternoon,” remarked my husband, Jonathan.
We were in Mt. Ranier National Park, which had no cell phone service and very spotty wi-fi only at the visitor center. It took forever to download anything because of all the hundreds of tourists, including us, not quite sold on the idea of a totally unplugged vacation, desperate to log on. We persisted until the crowds thinned, triumphantly downloading email and the New York Times. That’s how we knew about the murders in El Paso and Dayton. That’s how we knew why the flag in front of the visitor’s center was at half-mast.
Hell might have been breaking out, but here we were in Paradise. That’s what this main area of Mt. Ranier National Park is called. And it truly was. In case you need a break from the real world, enjoy!
Jonathan said it looked like Mt. Ranier was projected on a blue screen. The mountain loomed everywhere we looked. We were walking around in a 3-D postcard. I felt we had stepped right into the pages of my Sierra Club engagement calendars, which always feature the unbelievable flower meadows carpeting the flanks of the sleeping volcano.
There were lakes and more flowers . . .
. . . and even some wild (and not so wild) life:
We spent several more days in the Sunrise area of Mt. Ranier National Park:
With more incredible wildflowers:
Alas, after ten days, we needed to return to reality. Which reminds me of a great T-shirt I saw on the trail–very helpful for the transition back to what we now face: