Mount Rainier National Park. I had vaguely remembered a trip there from when I was about ten years old. And the image of the mountain has always been fresh in my mind, thanks to Dad. After climbing it, Dad put up a framed print of the mountain, ensuring that his kids would forever recognize it and be proud of him.
Because the park has been so fabled in my mind, I had been really looking forward to visiting it. I don’t want to get into details- this post would be far too long- but our visit to Mt. Rainier National Park was certainly the worst National Park that we have been to on the trip. Suffice it to say that there were long lines at the entrance, the major road was closed, the bathrooms were disgustingly dirty, and there were just hordes of people everywhere. (Note to self: Do not go to major parks or tourist attractions on the 4th of July weekend)
All was not in vain though. The mountain itself was quite pretty and we definitely had good weather. But really, the entire drive was worth it because of the cherries.
Now, those who are not from the West Coast may not be familiar with Rainier Cherries. As a brief overview: they are much lighter than the dark purple cherries usually found in grocery stores. They are usually yellow on one side and fade to a light red on the other side. And oh, the flavor! They are sweeter than your regular bing cherries, and far far less tart. We picked up two pounds of cherries from a farm stand on the side of the road right before entering Rainier, and it was these that made the entire park worth it.
Rainier cherries usually hit the peak of their season the first week of July. Boy we got lucky! These were the freshest cherries I had ever had. And we just devoured them on our trip through the park. Look at the mountain to the side, look down in the bag and grab a cherry, look at the park, grab another cherry, etc. By the time we left the park I was surprised to look down and see that almost the entire bag was gone! Oh, Rainier cherries, you were the ones that made Mt. Rainier National Park an enjoyable, and memorable experience.