I finally made it down to Mount Rainier National Park to obtain a feel for the majestic peak, the third largest in the lower 48 United States (after Mount Whitney (California) and Mount Harvard (Colorado)), and do a bit of hiking. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon when we drove through the Nisqually entrance (south of the park). We stopped for a few minutes to get a view of the Narada falls (note the rainbow in the picture above) and proceded to the crowded Paradise parking lot.
At Paradise, we got out and crossed through the flower fields (there weren't many flowers) and hiked about 3.2 kilometres/2 miles on the Skyline train to Panorama Point (1878 metres/6900 feet) where we had awesome views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier. Along the way, we stopped at Alta Vista and Glacier Vista. Definitely a cool hike to do especially if you just want to do a preliminary survey of the climb ahead. I promised myself I'd come back to climb the mountain soon.