Day 6 – “O, Canada . . .”

Around 5:00 AM, we crawled out of the tent and drove to the trailhead! Without our normal breakfast, or our morning tea, we made sure to pack some snacks and water because we didn’t really know how long we were going to be out for. (At the parking lot, the weather was less than favorable. Because it was super foggy, we weren’t sure how productive or long the hike would be.)

Despite the fog, the hike began with some incredible views. The meadows and flowers were quite a sight, and the occasional mini-glacier with babbling stream added to the generally awesome scenery.

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As we kept hiking, the fog started to lift.

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We were so happy that we didn’t bail on account of the fog because the views that we ended up seeing were incredible! At first, the summit of Mt. Rainier was barely noticeable, but then it quickly came into clear view.

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By the time we got to this clearing, the sun was just starting to rise over the mountains. We took some photos before continuing up the trail to see what there was to find. Wouldn’t you know, soon the trail ended up disappearing because it was covered by a glacier!

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The two of us ventured out onto the snowpack and hiked up to “Glacier Vista.” From here, we had a perfect view of the horizon, over the receding fog.

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Before heading back, Ally decided to go sledding on the glacier—unfortunately, without the sled.

(Cool Side Note: On our way back down, we saw a man hiking up the trail with skis strapped to his backpack. He said he was going to hike up the glacier and then ski back down! That sounds like it’d be an awesome way to end a long hike up a mountain.)

Once back down into the fog, we went back to camp, made breakfast and broke down our tent. Thanks to our early start, we were on the road for Seattle by 9 AM. The drive there was generally uneventful, save for some fun geography lessons. (We stopped and got gas in a town called “Puyallup.” We had a bit of fun imagining different ways to pronounce this interesting combination of letters, but ultimately consulted Patrick’s friend from school and learned its a rather boring “Pu-All-Up.”)

Once in Seattle, we headed for the first parking garage we could find. Unfortunately, it was one that was straight out of a Matchbox Car set—complete with car elevators. The signs said “Leave Keys In Car” and we quickly found ourselves in a one-way-only line of cars. (ABORT! ABORT!) Fortunately, Patrick was able to back the truck out of this contraption—see the upcoming time lapse to see this ridiculousness unfold.

Our first stop was, of course, Pike’s Place Market.

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We strolled around, checked out all different shops, and even saw some fish being thrown at the famous Fish Market. (Shout-out to UConn Orientation and props to these guys living the “FISH! Philosophy.”)

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We then headed to Pike’s Brewing Company, but not before stopping at the Chocolate Factory and snagging some pre-lunch dessert. (Special shout-out to Aaron Duffy for providing the sweet Pike’s Brew Co. recommendation! The Bacon Burger was delicious.)

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After the requisite stop at a Seattle Starbucks, we were back on the road and headed for the border! Traffic was a bit heavy leaving the city, but fortunately the border crossing was painless—Ally even got the Passport Stamp she wanted.

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We arrived in Vancouver around 6:00 PM and were pleased to be greeted by a super friendly hotel employee—and free cookies! We brought our bags up to the room, and took our time before we headed out to the Gastown neighborhood for food. We finally found a restaurant that interested us around 10:00 PM and enjoyed a wonderful seafood dinner. After sharing some raw oysters, we each got a delicious local beer. Ally enjoyed garlic shrimp while Patrick devoured his halibut.

By the time we returned to the hotel, it was past midnight. We both passed out before we could even plan the next day’s trek to Lake Louise and Banff National Park in Alberta!

On that note, we’ll be in the Canadian Rockies for a few days, very likely without internet. After that, we drive down to Glacier National Park in Montana, so we might not have updates for a few days. Be on the look out for a message saying we’ve got some new posts for you to enjoy!

– Patrick and Ally

Mt. Rainier National Park to Vancouver, BC – 243 miles

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