October 6, 2005

Three Bears Lodge at Mount Rainier

Filed under: seattle,tacoma — sparkrobot @ 11:49 pm

Last weekend, my wife and I got the chance to get out of town and head up to Mount Rainier National Park and stay at Three Bears Lodge. The lodge is about 200 yards or so from the Nisqually gate to the park. Friday afternoon, I packed up a few things, charged up the iPod and hit the road.

I set the iPod to broadcast to 87.7 using Griffin Technology’s iTrip FM transmitter, set it to random and away we went. It’s normally about an hour up to the mountain from Tacoma, but we got a late start on Friday afternoon. I recommend leaving earlier than 4:30 PM if you want to hustle up to the mountain, as it seems there’s no shortage of traffic on Pacific Ave/Highway 7 on Friday night. Once we passed through Parkland and Spanaway, we were cruising along. Arriving at the lodge around 6 PM we found the place easy to find with the directions provided for us by the owners of the lodge augmented by a map from Google.

On arrival, we found the place private, immaculately clean and well-stocked with all the comforts of home and then some. Impressed with the roominess of the accommodations – as advertised – it easily sleeps up to ten people. The Lodge has been recently updated with new appliances and comfortable furniture. There is one bedroom downstairs and one upstairs. There’s also a loft upstairs (technically another bedroom) and a couple of futons.

After checking out the rooms and the grounds, I prepared for grilling meat on the brand new gas grill on the front deck. Having stopped in Elbe to pick up a sixer of Samuel Adams Octoberfest, I found that when we arrived, there were frosty glass mugs in the freezer…. nice! This helped me easily kick a few back by the time the grilled pork was ready to eat. As if I needed assistance… We spent the rest of the night kicking around the cabin, planning what we’d be up to the next day. Again, I used the iTrip to broadcast my library to the stereo system at the lodge. Later, we played a few drunken rounds of Boggle and I attempted to play a snowboarding game on the lodge’s xbox. There were about 5-6 games in the game library. Decent titles for a stock library, I might add.

Saturday morning, it was raining, as predicted. I woke up early despite the fact that I’d ripped through the Octoberfest without a challenge. I made some breakfast, some gourmet coffee which I’d found in the lodge (nice!) and tuned in on my mellow playlist. After an hour or so, my wife also came downstairs and we decided to head into the park. Nevermind all the rain. Good call. If you don’t get out in the rain in the fall in Washington, you pretty much don’t get out.

We roamed around the park on Saturday, stopping along the way to check out touristy spots. We made our way up to Paradise Visitor Center where we stopped for burgers and caught some brief snow flurries. We watched a video on the imminent destruction facing anyone living the immediate path of the volcano. If she decides to blow, or even collapse. Um. Buh-bye. Right on through Puyallup. It’s happened before, and they say — it’ll happen again. Later in the afternoon, the sun came out and though it wasn’t warm, we enjoyed bouncing around the mountain and checking out the sights. I’ve always been fascinated by Rainier and I think it’s one of the most amazing natural spaces I’ve ever been in. I took a ton of pictures and we stopped along the way at various vistas to soak up the scenery. Some of the highlights we visited were Box Canyon, Reflection Lake and Silver Falls, but there’s so much more to see out there.

We headed back to the lodge in the late afternoon. I hooked up a spice rub for some chicken to grill a bit later, and we headed out to the hot tub to relax a bit. Again — Nice! Brand new hot tub with many, many jets. We had a bit of wine and chilled out. After grilling up the chicken and eating dinner, we picked out a film we hadn’t yet seen – Matchstick Men with Sam Rockwell and Nicolas Cage – from the stock library at the lodge. I’ll add that there were tons of family-friendly films and board games, etc. at the lodge along with a VCR and DVD player. Now, this isn’t exactly punk rock, but if you’re reading this thinking you’d like to take your family to the forest in Washington, it’s a good fit. In the evening, the Jacuzzi tub – with provided bath salts – was totally perfect. Hey, if I really wanted to go camping, I woulda really gone camping.

It rained again on Sunday, so we cruised around checking out nearby towns. We headed down to Ashford, over to Morton, down to Mossyrock Lake and back again, taking random shots of Backwoods, WA along the way. In the evening, we visited Alexander’s Country Inn for dinner. The food was fantastic. We ordered the specials – baked Salmon with Shrimp Scampi over linguine and Alaskan King Crab and Steak glazed in a Mushroom sauce. Flat out…Yum.

All in all, I have to highly recommend the Three Bears Lodge to anyone looking to get away and enjoy the Mount Rainier National Park without “roughing it”. At $200 a night (weekend rate) and only about an hour from , two from Seattle, this is a rocking new lodge that allows you to enjoy IMHO one of the best destination spots in the Pacific Northwest in what us “usually car campers” would call… pure luxury.

Some things to note:

  • No cell phone reception (incoming phone line however)
  • No internet
  • Nobody calling you to let you know that the advertising on IMDb isn’t working. (whoot-whoot!)
  • You can buy pretty much anything you’ll need from the grocery stores in the immediate area, but you should bring with you main courses.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.