Washington State - Part 2: Mount Rainier National Park & White River Campground

After Matt and I left Seattle we took an Uber to Auburn, Washington to pick up our Camper Van. This van was our home for 10 days as we explored the beautiful Pacific North West. We rented the camper van on Outdoorsy.com from the sweetest family ever. They were terrific! It was a very smooth and effortless process renting the van online and it was a great decision looking back. We had no issues at all.

It was the biggest expense on our trip but it was completely worth it. Having the van and being on the road allowed us to see so much more this way as opposed to renting a hotel or an airbnb. We wanted to be in nature as much as possible with few limitations and the camper van easily allowed us to do that. Having the van was so convenient and made getting epic photos that much easier. Matt and I loved being able to be parked right where we wanted to be for sunrises and sunsets. It was fabulous.

After we picked up the van we were off to Mount Rainier National Park...the most anticipated part of our trip. We knew it would be amazing and it truly was incredible!

Many travel enthusiasts and explorers, especially Washington residents, spend their entire lives exploring just Mount Rainier. I read on a mug in the Paradise gift shop, "Mount Rainier, a lifetime of exploration." I now know exactly why. You can explore this place your entire life and still never even scratch the surface of all the natural wonder it has to offer.

We only spent 3 days of our week long trip in Mount Rainier and actually thought about adjusting our entire travel itinerary to stay longer because it was that amazing. But we decided to just continue with the original plan, all the while talking about how we wanted to come back again and just do a trip to Mount Rainier. It was so hard to leave.

There's an area on the South Side of Mount Rainier called, Paradise. This was by far our favorite place! There is a gorgeous lodge (with fireplaces!), easy scenic hiking trails with lots of wildlife, a tourist/information center with restrooms, several gift shops, a cafe, and vast landscapes all around. It truly is paradise!

We expected that Mount Rainier would be the place where we would see the most wildlife on our trip. We were right. There were animals everywhere. No matter where you go, you will see some type of animal.

The chipmunks were so abundant and oh so friendly! I love this photo of a little chipmunk enjoying a nice sunny day in Paradise. He's so cute!

Here is me hiking the Skyline Trail up in Paradise. It was one of the most memorable and fun hikes Matt and I have ever done together (and we have done many). It was incredibly beautiful and we had such a blast! That's actually a waterfall in that crater-like area of the volcano. Epic!

Matt and I were sooooo lucky to have had this beautiful sunny and warm day. Unfortunately, many people who visit Mount Rainier don't ever get to experience a bright warm sunny day. That's because the weather up there is ever changing by the minute. Big clouds and fog are usually covering the entire volcano so it is often an obstructed view. I am extremely thankful for this perfect day and the memories and photos we made.

Mount Rainier is a 14,410 foot tall active volcano. It last erupted about 1,000 years ago. It became a National Park in 1899 and is the United State's 5th National Park. It has 25 major glaciers.

I found this 'Good Times' rock laying on a boulder. Sweet find. I left it there to bring other people good vibes too. Spread the love, right?

Christine Falls is right along the road on the way up to Paradise. You can literally just get out of your car and walk a few feet and you are at the falls.

It's pure glacier water so it's bright crystal blue and so clean. I love this view of it under the stone bridge. Lovely!

Beautiful hawk sitting up in the tree right next to the main visitor center parking lot!

There are so many macro photo opportunities everywhere. We went in the middle of September so not only did we see a lot of fall color but we also got to see some of the tail end of summer flowers.

I'm really proud of the hawk photos I took. Isn't he a beauty? I love birds. I used a 70-300mm zoom lens to get that shot. This was taken right in the parking lot at the Paradise visitors center. See? You don't have to go far at all to see wildlife here.