Posts Tagged ‘national park’

September in Paradise: a Photo Essay of Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

DSCF6234

Washington’s drought was evident in the water levels at Tipsoo Lake

I’ve lived in Seattle for over a year and finally got to Mt. Rainier National Park to meet Washington’s highest mountain IRL for the first time. I focused on visiting the areas near Paradise and the Chinook Pass. I entered the park from the southwestern Nisqually entrance. The fee to enter was $20 for my vehicle and valid for 7 consecutive days.

DSCF6207

The stone bridge over  the lower tier of Christine Falls

My first mistake was assuming that visiting mid-week and mid-September meant the park wouldn’t be crowded. A teacher’s strike in Seattle and fantastic weather made the park fairly packed. This was an issue since I had no mobile phone service in the park, nor for about 30 miles outside of it. Wifi was non-existent.

The first photo op I passed was the picturesque Christine Falls, which are easy to access just off the road. Washington has been in a drought and water levels were visibly low at all the waterfalls and lakes.

DSCF6249

Hiking in Paradise

If you are planning on staying at one of Mt. Rainier’s Inns, book ahead even in the fall.

I failed to do this and discovered both Paradise Inn and National Park Inn had filled up a few hours before my arrival.

DSCF6228

Evergreens and fall colors

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Full frontal fall colors off a trail in Paradise

DSCF6244

A creek and Mt. Rainier above Narada Falls

After two years of drought in the state of Washington, we’ve been told that this winter will be a record El Nino year, and I’m curious to see how this effects the snowpack and water levels at Mt. Rainier National Park next year.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

The bridge above Narada Falls

Photo Sep 09, 6 21 14 PM

 Rainier in stunning light

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

 Evergreens and glaciers

You can spend a whole day hiking around Paradise. The Alta Vista trail loop is paved and leads through meadows filled with wildflowers. I was surprised by how vibrant the fall colors already were in mid-September.

Additional trails to the Skyline Trail and Reflection Lakes intersect with the Alta Vista loop.

Photo Sep 09, 6 34 14 PM

A pretty view of Mt. Rainier

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

  A meadow on the Alta Vista trail in full Autumnal splendor

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

 Wood in the forest near Christine Falls

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

Fall colors out in full force on the Alta Vista trail in Paradise

Processed with VSCOcam with c6 preset

Driving through the park

Paradise Inn

Reservations
Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm PDT.
Send Email
Phone 360.569.2275 or 855.755.2275
Fax 360.569.2770

GPS Address to Nisqually Entrance
(not a mailing address)
39000 State Route 706 E
Ashford, WA  98304
The National Park Inn is located 6 miles inside the Nisqually Entrance and the Paradise Inn is located 19 miles inside the entrance.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Glamping in Australia’s Red Centre: A Stay at Longitude 131

4V1C5564

One of the luxury tented accommodations at Longitude 131

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, has been on my list of places to visit for years. Last month I finally got my chance to visit Australia’s Red Centre, with a few nights at Longitude 131. With a reputation for being the finest accommodations in Outback glamping, Longitude 131 doesn’t come cheap. My husband and I tried to maximize our bang for the buck by staying one less than the recommended three nights/four full days, and attempting to see as much as we could during our time.


First glimpse of Uluru HyperLapse (shot on iPhone 6)

The cranked up pace was a bit too crammed for me. While I totally enjoyed my time, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been so hurried. I also had a difficult time with jet lag on this trip, which did not help the situation.

4V1C5232

Some of the stunning scenery seen on excursions from Longitude 131

My hotel review posts usually feature lots of images of hotel room interiors and bathroom amenities, but photographing the room did not happen during my brief stay at Longitude 131.

Fortunately Longitude 131’s own website photos are very realistic. The tents are glamorous and comfortable, but we did not spend much time there other than to sleep or change clothes. The bulk of your day at Longitude 131 is spent exploring nearby Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which was the point of the whole trip anyway!

DSCF4425

My first glimpse of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock

We had about 35 minutes from the time we arrived at the Longitude 131 until we headed out for our first excursion, the Mala Walk around the base of Uluru,  followed by a sundowner and light bites in the Kantu Gorge.

The guides at Longitude 131 are friendly and great and I felt that I learned a ton on this excursion. The couple I met from Sydney who were staying the recommended three days seemed more relaxed than I was (and less jet lagged).

IMG_5499Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Left: sunrise at a viewing area in Kata Tjuta National Park Right: My room at Longitude 131

Both my husband and I were tired when we returned from this excursion, so we skipped the formal dinner service and headed straight to our tent.

I fell asleep immediately and woke up in time for a quick bite before heading out for our next excursion, headed to a sunrise view point in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The Kata Tjuta range (also known as the Olgas) domes are visually interesting, and the sky and scrubby landscape looked gorgeous in the soft morning light.

IMG_5585

Gorgeous desert landscape and clouds at Kata Tjuta

After admiring the sunrise at Kata Tjutas we headed out on the lovely Valley of Winds hike , which can range 6-10 km around a sacred Anangu men’s site in the domes of Kata Tjuta. We finished our hike just before the day got too hot. The only thing missing was a cold beer before we headed  to the Cultural Centre in the park for a visit. Then we got back to Longitude 131 in time for lunch.

DSCF4502

A view of the Kata Tjutas at sunrise

Our day finished with the Uluru sunset excursion (again complete with cocktails and nibbles). It was a delightful day. Dinner that evening was served at outdoors under the star filled skies at Table 131 set up outside. Once again, jet lag made me decide to skip the main course and get as much sleep as I could.

Processed with VSCOcam with c9 preset

A vibrant sunset view of Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Your days are paced similarly to those on safari at Longitude 131– most activities happen around sunrise and sunset leaving the hottest hours in the middle of the day free for you to enjoy the resorts lovely pool, the nearby Cultural Centre in the park or even arrange a camel ride or motorcycle ride. Unlike being on safari, you come to Longitude 131 for the landscape and outdoor activities, not for the wildlife. You might see some wild camels or feral cats, but this is not the place for those who want a game viewing experience.

DSCF4573

Yummy steak for lunch at Longitude 131

All the food and beverages at Longitude 131 were excellent.

DSCF4576DSCF4571

Left: Pasta with shrimp for lunch Right: a colorful salad with edible flower at Longitude 131

While I did not eat every dinner I was totally satisfied by the appetizers served during the sundown excursions and did not feel I needed much more.

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset

 Glacial toothfish and broccolini for lunch at Longitude 131

IMG_6106

A stunning sunset view of  Longitude 131 Resort

Processed with VSCOcam with e2 preset

Rainbows in the bathroom at Longitude 131

My Longitude 131 experience was very good. I made the decision to do a shorter, more concentrated trip and I’m not sure I’d recommend that unless you are 100% over jet lag or the sort of person who loves having every minute scheduled.

I was impressed with my experience enough that I am now curious about other Baillie Lodges and am considering a visit to Kangaroo Island on my next trip down under.

Longitude 131

Yulara Drive,
Yulara Northern Territory 0872,  Australia
Tel: +61 08 8957 7131
Fax: +61 08 8957 7130

Luxury tent rate is $1,200 AUD per person, per night including all dining, open bar with premium wines and spirits, in-suite bar, signature experiences, and return Ayers Rock Airport transfers.
My trip was booked through Suzy Xiu at SmartFlyer.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Facebook YouTubeTwitterSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSS