Three things to know for your snowy adventure at Mount Rainier, WA

Having lived all my life in a tropical country, I have never experienced snow. Actually, I’m very sensitive to cold weather and prone to feeling the chills when the temperature drops so I have accepted that experiencing snow will never be a reality.

That changed when my bro decided to take Hubby, the kids and myself to Mount Rainier in Washington State during the fam’s US trip.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Famed Scottish-American naturalist John Muir once said, “Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.”

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier truly offers a lot of awesome sights to behold.  And if you’re planning a similar trip to this famous attraction, here are some things you might like to know:

1. It was formed by volcanic activity and is, in fact, an active volcano.

At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier stands at the center of the country’s fifth national park and is the most glaciated peak in the continental United States.  It is a product of many prehistoric volcanic activities as evidenced by basalt columns and other remnants of early eruptions and lava flows.

Mount Rainier

Active steam vents, intermittent earth tremors and its previous eruptions indicate that Mount Rainier is sleeping, not dead.  Set your mind at ease, though: there are seismic monitoring stations throughout the place that should be able to provide warning of impending eruptions days in advance.  You should still watch out for other geologic activities that occur with little warning such as rock falls and debris flows.  If you happen to be near a river and notice a rapid rise in water level or prolonged ground tremors and rumbling noise, the park advises to head on to higher ground, 200 feet above river level should be safe.

2. Its landscape is ever-changing.

From a distance, Mount Rainier may seem solid and permanent but, up close, it constantly changes. This spring, melting snow reveal subalpine meadows with flowers that rapidly bloom for pollinating insects, and foraging animals ensure the continuity of life despite the summer that lasts for only two months.

As a wanderer, you also need to be prepared for the changing conditions on the mountain such as retracing hiking routes, snow avalanches, rushing streams and changing weather.  Gear up for potential difficulties you may encounter when you decide to go hiking, snow boarding or climbing.

Mount Rainier

Our group, for example, was initially planning to enjoy the views at Sunrise, the highest point in the park reachable by car but closed roads going to the area made us change our plans to go to visit Longmire, the Narada Falls and the Paradise Visitors Center instead.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Factoring in some flexibility in your sightseeing will ensure that everyone still has a good time despite changes in plans. Be sure to note road closure signs and other safety notices on the way.  You can dial 9-1-1 from any phone located within the park for emergency assistance.

3. Its wilderness is home to diverse fauna.

Beyond the roads, parking lots and visitor centers is sprawling wild land: over 97 percent of the Mount Rainier National Park is protected by the 1964 Wilderness Act that keeps it free from development.  Here, animals such as black bears, beavers, mountain goats, spotted owls and the recently reintroduced Pacific fishers, can roam and live freely in the thick forests, lush meadows, rushing rivers and sparkling lakes.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

While exploring Mount Rainier, you can take the opportunity to enjoy all the relaxing green spaces to recharge and reinvigorate yourself away from the stresses of city living.  You can also take in the wonders of nature that are in abundance in the area, thanks to the conservation efforts of the National Parks Service.

Mount Rainier National Park is located in East Ashford, Washington, 90 miles (about 2 hours drive) from Seattle.  The park charges USD30 (Php1,565) for every passenger vehicle, or USD25 (Php1,304)  for every motorcycle.  Walk-ins and bicyclists are charged USD15 (Php783).

For more details about the Mount Rainier National Park, visit its website.

Check out the other attractions the fam and I visited during our US trip:

An immersive coffee experience at Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Seattle, WA is the birthplace of Starbucks. My love affair with this coffee brand is well-known among my nears-and-dears (and well-documented on this blog, too!)

Well, on my second visit to the Evergreen State, this time with my family in tow, I made sure to drop by the mecca for coffee lovers right here in Seattle: the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

Located just nine blocks from Starbucks’ original store near the Pike Place Market, it is one of the largest Starbucks outlets in the world, occupying 15,000 square feet of space, all dedicated to the company’s pursuit of coffee innovations.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Here, visitors can look forward to a unique and immersive combination of coffee experiences, such as witnessing the on-site brewing of rare Starbucks Reserve coffees, tasting an ever-evolving beverage menu, watching, tasting and learning eight distinct coffee preparation methods, perusing an expansive library of coffee-related tomes, and chatting with a staff of Certified Starbucks Coffee Masters who simply love talking about their craft.

The experience starts in the Main Bar where you can order your cup of choice or allow the Coffee Masters to recommend a perfect handcrafted drink for you, made with the store’s freshly roasted, rare coffee beans.

Here, the kids and I enjoyed 12oz glasses of Cold Brew Malt, a treat from my bro. This drink is a thick malted milkshake made with Starbucks’ cold brew coffee spindle-blended with Mora’s vanilla ice cream and chocolate bitters.

Bro-in-law, on the other hand, a Matcha Teavana Tea Latte, one of the store’s non-coffee drinks.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Next, at the Scooping Bar, a Coffee Master can advise you on which Starbucks Reserve coffee best suits your taste and you can take home a freshly scooped bag.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

At the Handpicked at the Roastery, your inner Starbucks fan can truly come out and play. With a plethora of carefully curated merchandise from Starbucks’ artisan partners, from coffee-brewing equipment from all over the world, coffeeware ranging from quaint-kitschy to posh and wearables that proudly announce your love for coffee, you can take a piece of Starbucks home with you.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

At the Mixology Bar, get a shot or two of signature cocktails and spirit-free drinks inspired by Starbucks Reserve coffee and Teavana teas. I’ll probably return here – sans the little one – for a more spirited coffee experience.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks partnered with Rocco Princi to bring a taste of the Spirito di Milano to its customers. At Princi, you can treat yourself to artisan breads, freshly baked pastries and pizzas, as well as delectable desserts which are best enjoyed with your cup of Starbucks Reserve coffee.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Want to get lost in your own coffee story? Head on to the Experience Bar where you can go on themed coffee tasting flights, guided tours by Starbucks’ Coffee Masters where exploratory brew methods and immersive storytelling will only deepen your love for your favorite brews.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

For a bookworm like me, the Coffee Library is a destination in itself. Climb up the steps so you can pore over 200-plus books dedicated to coffee. It also offers a great view of the entire roasting operation.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

A trip to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is always a worthwhile activity for coffee lovers who find themselves in Seattle. I plan to return before my trip ends to have a more leisurely journey across the bars and stations.

This Starbucks Reserve Roastery is located at 1124 Pike Street, Seattle, WA, 98101, open daily from 7am to 11pm. For more details, call (206)624-0173 or visit www.starbucksreserve.com.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my previous posts on Starbucks:

Check out the other restos I’ve tried in the Washington state area: