Anniversary Trip to the Summit House Restaurant

 

Husbeast and I celebrated our five-year anniversary last weekend with a trip to the Summit House Restaurant near Mt. Rainier. It’s a bit of a trek out there, but the drive is pretty and it was a gorgeous day. We got there a little early and checked out the base area of the resort before taking the gondola up. There’s a gift shop (with lots of high SPF products—yes! Snagged some lip balm with SPF +30) and a café, though the café was closed for a wedding. Looks like there are some nice hiking opportunities in the area too, though we didn’t investigate. Restroom facilities are located at the base, and I don’t know if there are any up at the Summit House. I commented to Husbeast that there are a lot of “don’t feed the wildlife” signs, but I didn’t see any animals—not even birds. More on that later.

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The gondola ride is fun, and Husbeast managed it fine despite not being fond of heights. You’re fully enclosed and it’s actually surprisingly quiet once you get away from the landing/receiving points. I can also report that it goes at a pace conducive to hatching Pokemon Go eggs. It’s not entirely ADA friendly, but Husbeast didn’t have a problem with his forearm crutch. The gondola can come to a complete stop if need be, so someone capable of standing transfers with a mechanical/folding wheelchair may be able to make it work. The gondolas themselves are pretty spacious, and the gondola operators were all respectful and accommodating.

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Food was pretty good, and this is the first place where Canadian Husbeast gave the poutine a passing grade. He only needs to go to 6,872 feet to get it again. Pictures of the mountain didn’t turn out great because it was super hazy that day and I didn’t have a polarizer.

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Oh, and remember the “don’t feed the wildlife” signs? The reason resides up at the Summit House,  and people completely disregard the signs: saw a woman dump a pile of seeds in front of her so she could video her kid trying to pet the chipmunk.

Not an inexpensive day trip once you factor in the drive and gondola fee on top of the food, but it’s a fun excursion for people looking to get out of the city.

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Race Day

Ok, that’s a misleading title because it’s not actually about racing. But it kind of is, so work with me here. I missed blogging last month and will try to make up for it with dual posts this month. Going with more photography adventures, so expect picture heavy posts.

I have an uber Awesome Aunt who has always been big on gifting “experiences” rather than things as presents. For Christmas last year, she gifted a “race car experience” to my brother, who we’ll call Little Brother: Race Day 274and he finally scheduled the date and went out to the track yesterday. The website encourages photography, so off I went to watch. He got to bring a friend, let’s call him Friend K:

Race Day 208(not to be confused with the Intrepid K mentioned in previous posts). The company is Rusty Wallace Racing, and uses the short track at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, WA (it’s almost fair time! Yay). Unfortunately, there’s a tall chain link fence blocking off the track from the grandstands, and visitors aren’t allowed in the pit area (duh).

Race Day 036But, if you climb to nearly the top of the grandstand then you can get an unobstructed view of the cars for about half the track. No cool pit shots or of the cars coming straight on, but this was a great opportunity for me to practice panning. Also a good exercise in controlling shutter speed. The sweet spot in getting detail on the cars but with motion blur on the wheels was tight, and got worse as my arms got tired from holding the camera up. All shot with a Canon 7D Mk 2 with a 100-400mm lens at 400mm. Used a polarizer for the panning shots.

The company had I think 7 cars, and anywhere from 2-4 on the track at a time. The doors don’t open like conventional cars, so the drivers get to climb in through the window.

It’s not a large track so the cars can’t get remotely close to NASCAR speed, but they seemed to have fun gunning down the straight.

Car racing isn’t really my thing, but this was a unique photo opportunity. Awesome Aunt does it again with the cool experiences.

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