Riding Horses on Mt. Rainier – What a View!

We figured for our last day on the mountain that we’d done enough hiking. We’d let our four legged friends do the work for us this time. Riding horses is one of our favorite things to do during a trip to a new place. We’ve done it at Lake Tahoe, four different times in Brazil, and we’ll be doing it soon in Scotland too. It seems to be one of our travel traditions, and one we’re both really happy to stick with.

I was hoping to get this guy:

He’s half Belgian draft horse. He may not be a tall fellow, but man was he a tank, and so cute! Sadly, he was the guide’s horse and not mine.

Brian and I were given a pair of longer legged horses who took us up the hills just fine though.

We were outside the park for the ride, just on the edge of it. Our guide told us this is still public land though, donated for non-motorized trail use. Since the weather was so clear and warm we expected to see more riders, or at least a few hikers out, but it turned out to be just us.

It was strangely quiet. We didn’t see any wildlife at all, unless you count that one tiny frog that Brian’s horse spooked out of a little puddle on the way by.

The birds weren’t singing, the squirrels weren’t out, we didn’t even see a single chipmunk.

It was almost ominous.

At the top of the trail we came out to a clearing where we were lucky to see Mt. St. Helens in the distance. Can you see it there just behind the tree? It’s normally hidden in the usual overcast sky, but we had wide open clear blue once again.

I loved the view, but I was hoping all that silence wasn’t because all the forest creatures had bugged out in anticipation of another massive volcano blast. That would totally be not cool.

Brian was really having a great time, and loving the whole area. I’d hate to ruin his first experiences of Washington state by getting him blown half way to Alaska.

But it turned out to be fine. We got the best of all that nature had to offer during our time here on the mountain, and we got to see it all under beautiful blue skies. I’m starting to suspect that American wants him to stay here. She’s being awfully cooperative with the beautiful places, wonderful weather and lack of spewing lava.

He’s totally falling for it too. Look at that smile. He even mentioned a few times that he could see himself living around here some day. We’ll add it to the list of good spots to land in some day when we’re finally too old to be wandering around the planet like we do.

After two hours of riding, we made our way back to the barn. Our guide was great, telling us a lot about the history of the land and the kinds of wildlife he’s seen around there. He did lose points for making us feel old though. When he showed us the view of Mt. St. Helens I asked him how it had affected the area this far north, within view of it.

He said he didn’t know because he hadn’t been born yet.


So, even with a guide that was almost young enough to be my own son (Gah!), we had a great time. We gave the horses a few extra scratches behind their ears, and we gave our guide a good tip.

So if you find yourself anywhere near the Nisqually entrance of Mt. Rainier National Park (in Elbe) and feel like taking a ride, give EZ Times Trail Rides a call.

And say hello to the barn cat. She was a little bit intimidating so I didn’t give her a scratch behind her ears. I’m sure you won’t find a mouse within two miles of the barn though.

I wonder if she’s the reason we didn’t hear any birds?

On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.

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About akil3655

A Scotsman and his American photographer wife traveling the world and writing about it. Tales, reviews, photos, interviews and crazy goings on. Because you never know what's going to happen.

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4 Responses to Riding Horses on Mt. Rainier – What a View!

  1. Kelly June 4, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    It seems to be a very nice experience, although I agree with you that it would have been better had there been animals to liven up the surroundings.

    On the other hand, I guess it is unfair for you to insinuate that the friendly barn cat is responsible for the absence of birds.

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      June 4, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      Well, that was actually a joke. My fault for not being funny enough, I suppose.

  2. Nancy B. June 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    OMG is right. You made me think about it and I realized that it was 31 years ago that Mt. St. Helens blew……..wow, how time gets away from you! That means my “Time” and “National Geographic” magazines about the explosion are almost ANTIQUES!! I love going up there. I haven’t hiked in that neck of the woods in many years though. Our recent trips up there have been for various grandkids graduations. Still have one kid left to see for graduation in a couple of years. Maybe a few extra days to visit this area would be in order when we’re there. I remember seeing the area around Mt St Helens in 1986 and still no growth (not even weeds or wildflowers). We were in awe of 2 story houses buried in ash up to the eaves and logging trucks tossed around like toys! We visited the same places again in 2005 and the forests were back along with the elk and deer…. It’s recovering nicely but won’t be the same in our lifetimes. :-(

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      June 4, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

      I’ve seen Mt. St. Helens from a bit closer, a lot of years ago, and it was amazing how much devastation there was. I was wondering if they heard the blast from Mt. Rainier and that’s what I asked the guide (who was in his very late twenties).