Columbia Falls, MT & Glacier National Park

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This is the first time in Montana for both of us.  Columbia Falls is located southwest of the west entrance to Glacier National Park.  We parked at the LaSalle RV Park.

Glacier National Park

I don’t attempt to rank national parks and other places of natural beauty since each place offers something unique and special.  But suffice it to say that Glacier National Park gave us many opportunities to feel overwhelmed with the sheer scale and beauty of what we were seeing.  This place that was carved and shaped by geological forces and glaciers occupies about one million acres in northwestern Montana.

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Eatonville, WA–Mt. Rainier National Park

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Eatonville is a bit southeast of Seattle in the vicinity of Mt. Rainier National Park which was the major purpose for our visit.  We parked at Rainbow RV Resort which is located on picturesque Lake Tanwax.  On a clear day, which we were fortunate to experience, you can see the peak of Mt. Rainier from the RV park.

Mt. Rainier

At 14,410 feet, Mt. Rainier is the tallest volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range and the most glaciated peak in the continental United States with 26 named glaciers.  We entered the park at the Nisqually entrance which is in the southwest corner of the park.  Near the Longmire area we stopped for a hike that took us up to a spot with a nice view of Mt. Rainier.  We continued on the main road stopping to check out waterfalls and other viewpoints.  We went as far as the Paradise area which is the most popular spot in the park.  It takes you to about 5,400 feet in elevation.  The National Park Service says that “Paradise is the snowiest place on Earth where snowfall is measured regularly.”  It has an average of 671 inches of snowfall per year with 1,122 inches recorded during the winter of 1971/72.  Mt. Rainier NP is a little off the beaten path but well worth a more extensive visit.

Next stop:  Portland, OR

Lake Tahoe, Nevada

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When we arrived in Tahoe on February 12th, there had been little snowfall for the winter so far.  Fortunately, Heavenly mountain has good snowmaking capabilities so there were several runs with good coverage so that we found pretty good ski conditions.  Of course, if you looked off into the trees you would see mostly rocks and stumps.  So definitely, stick to the main runs.

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Mammoth Lakes, CA

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I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’ve never visited this area during the summer.  I used to come here frequently to ski since it is the nearest major ski area to Southern California, about a 5 hour drive.  So this portion of our summer itinerary was built around a stop in Mammoth Lakes.  We parked at the Mammoth Mountain RV Park.

Sadly, one of the major areas I wanted to visit here, Devil’s Postpile National Monument was closed to allow for repairs to the road that leads to it necessitated by winter storms.  But there’s still plenty to see and do here.

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