. We enjoyed the views a while longer, had a brief exchange of thrown snowballs (because if you have the opportunity to make a snowball in July, you just have to do it), and headed back to our trailer.
From there, we made our way out of the National Park and back towards I-5. Along the way, we were treated to a number of interesting sites - waterfalls, valleys, rivers, etc. We needed a place to stop for the evening and chose the park from our second night, Toutle River. This was the one that offered too many activities to take advantage of in one night, so we figured it made sense to give it another day. It was a hot day, so we dipped in the pool, played a round of disc golf in a very nicely designed 9-hole forest course, and relaxed at the RV after grilling up some chicken.
Jackie and the boys finished off their day in the dry sauna while I updated our blog, and we all settled in for a movie and some good sleep. Tomorrow we head back through Oregon.
As Jackie described yesterday, we took the gondola to the top of Crystal Mountain, which is adjacent to Mount Rainier and offers incredible views of that plus four other peaks. Today, we decided to go up on Rainier. For the first time on this trip, I unhitched the trailer and we set off in the Tahoe, winding our way up 6,400 feet to the mountain's highest point accessible by car. Near the top was Sunrise Point. We parked here and enjoyed practically 360 degrees of unencumbered vistas, with the only exception being the sole peak of Rainier (see video). The peak that has been our distant companion for the last few days (which we've observed from various directions from over 100 miles away) now was so near that it seemed we could practically reach out and grab it. It was also interesting to see the quantity of snow. I'm sure that there is always some snow year-round at this elevation, but here we were in July and the mountain was completely encased in white, save for the road and green trees. I guess this is the result of a what was an extended winter season