Posts tagged ‘wildlife’

Mount Rainier

I’m going to take a short break from my travels and share with you the time I spent at the Paradise Inn at Mt. Rainier.  When I decided that I was getting too comfortable going back to the same lodge year after year (I had never intended to work at the same place for more than one season) I decided to leave Alaska and work at Rainier National Park in Washington State. 

As in Alaska, I met so many wonderful people from all over the world and had a great time supervising the lunch counters and delis at the lodge.  I had a whole crew from Jamaica.  What a great group of boys they were!  And what an absolutely beautiful area this was to work.  When I first arrived there were still several feet of snow at the lodge. 

Visiter Center buried in snow

Paradise Inn was built in 1916 and is absolutely magnificent with its huge cedar beams, tables, benches and Native American décor.


View from my room


As the season went along and the snow melted, the grasses and wildflowers started growing bringing the mountain to life.

On my days off I took drives to all the beautiful waterfalls and trails in this wonderful rainforest filled with moss covered trees. 

Almost every day I saw deer and fox as I was walking around the area. 

Magnificent Buck!

Mt. Rainier lodge was totally different than the Princess Lodge in Alaska.  In Alaska, most of the guests were coming from the cruise ships, older and not in great physical shape.  At Mt. Rainier, the majority of the guests came up for the climbing, hiking, picnicking and enjoying the mountain.  Many people came for the week-ends with their packed lunches and backpacks to enjoy the great outdoors.

It felt like you could reach up and touch the mountain!

Before I knew it, summer turned to fall and the vibrant orange and red colors started to appear.

A black bear started hanging around the lodge looking for a hand out.  Another sure sign that winter was on its way.

The last evening of the season the staff all got together in the lobby and watched “The Shining” a very creepy and fun old movie.  It totally reminded us of the lodge where we were, especially since this lodge is buried under tons of snow during the winter.  The next day as I was getting ready to leave, the bear that had been hanging around the lodge broke through the window into the dining room.  It was also starting to snow.  It was definitely time for me to go home after a great season!

January 14, 2011 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

Baja Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2 to catch up!

La Paz is one of the bigger and more modern towns in the Baja.  There are long sandy beaches all along the main street with sand sculptures, people sun bathing on the sand and fishing off the piers.  Cruise ships come here to let people shop.  There’s even an Applebees here.  I preferred driving out to the practically deserted beaches myself.  Sitting under the palapas and wading way out to explore the shallow waters.

Sand sculptures

Sand sculptures along the beach.


One of the many beaches we enjoyed practically to ourselves just outside of La Paz.


Sunset in La Paz

Todos Santos supposedly has the original Hotel California that the song was named after.  Don’t know if it’s true but it was a really nice place and was packed, so apparently lots of people believe it.  But we were more interested in spending our time on the water.  We camped on a beach close to Todos Santos for about a week where the fishermen came by every evening with their fresh catch to sell.  We sat on one beach for hours and hours watching the whales swim practically to the shore line.  We couldn’t pull ourselves away.  By the time we left we were burnt to a crisp but it was well worth it.  Wow, what a great life to get to experience these wonderful things!


Whales swimming close to the beach.

More Whales

More whales. Can't have too many pictures of whales. 🙂


The beautiful beach all to ourselves.


My favorite picture from the trip.


Sunset in Todos Santos

We finally made it to Cabo San Lucas!  We celebrated by buying lots of lobster and fixing it for dinner!  Muy Bien!!!


Lobster for dinner.


Buganvilla in Cabo

Are you guys tired of this yet? I hope not, because next I want to share the adventures we had on the way back home!

October 15, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Alaskan Adventures

Wow, what an experience Alaska turned out to be! This was totally uncharacteristic for me. I was always a very quiet, non-risk kind of person. My family and friends were the most important thing to me but venturing out to the unknown was not in my make-up. I got on a plane and headed out to Fairbanks. When I got off the plane I was bussed to Denali Park to a huge lodge. The company hired about 300 people for the summer season. The employees lived in a hotel about 10 miles from the lodge. I knew I was in Alaska from my very first day, when I saw a grizzly bear walking right by the hotel.

Grizzly by our hotel

I hired on as a housekeeping supervisor. This was a position I had never experienced before, but I did know what a clean hotel room should look like, so I just faked it. I guess it turned out okay because I received “employee of the month” and had a great time.

Besides working at something totally different than what I had done in the past, I met some really wonderful new friends and traveled all over the area. I found out that I was not the only middle aged woman looking for something ‘else’ in her life. We gathered every night at the “round table” in the cafeteria and learned about each other, took off on road trips on our days off, took tours of the park and saw bear, moose, dall sheep, and caribou, and made great new friendships. I still keep in touch with several of the ladies I met that first summer.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from that special time:

A B&B we passed by on one of our outings.

Mt McKinley in Denali Park

Me with one of Jeff King's (an Iditorod racer) puppies

Mama & baby moose that wandered into the lodge one morning

Group of us ladies on tour bus in Denali Park.

I ended up working at the same lodge for three years, moving from housekeeping to Food & Beverage. Each year I met lots of young people from all over the world, mostly from Eastern Europe coming up to this last frontier to work and earn money for their education. What great work ethics these young people had. It was quite an inspiration! At the end of the seasons the Northern Lights came out and gave us a beautiful show.

Northern Lights over the lodge

It was definitely an experience of a lifetime and started me on this new path in life.

June 14, 2010 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment