Last summer we spent most of our time house hunting, and then buying and moving into our home. We didn’t necessarily “waste” that summer, because we still did a lot of fun things. We just didn’t live it up to its full potential. This winter was particular long, wet, and cold so when summer did come we were excited! Chris and I talked a lot about stuff that we wanted to do.W e really hoped that we would be able to get a lot of those things done.
Some of the things we wanted to do were:
A long, kid free hike (didn’t do)
Hike in the North Cascades (check)
Spend time on the Olympic Peninsula (check)
Go backpacking with the kids (check)
Go camping (check)
Rock climb outdoors (check)
Go to Canada (check)
Go whale watching (check)
Hike on Mt. Rainier (check)
Get kayaks (check)
Go Kayak camping (check)
Go crabbing (check)
One of the other things I really wanted to do was ride the gondolas on Crystal Mountain. I’ve seen billboards and other advertisements for it, and everything I’d seen and heard looked amazing! Chris wasn’t as excited about it as I was so it took some time and some convincing, but I finally got him on board!
Crystal Mountain is about 2 hours away from us, so not too bad. We got up and started our drive then we stopped for lunch at BJ’s (bogo free coupon!) and then we were off. We did get a little later start than we hoped, but we made it to Crystal Mountain about 4 PM. It was a little chilly out, mostly because it was a bit windy, but for being as high up as we were, elevation wise, it wasn’t too bad. We got our tickets to ride the Gondolas up and off we went. The gondolas were really nice. They are completely enclosed and could probably hold 6-8 people. It wasn’t too crowded while we were there so we were able to have our own! We felt safe enough that we let the kids walk between us and move around to get the best views. The gondolas went up, and up, and up, and up. We were going so high! It was fun to look back at how far we’d come!
It was a beautiful ride up. We could see where people would ski in the winter, we could see forests, and we could see so many layers of mountain peaks. It really was so pretty! It did feel like we were going to go on top of the world though, we were going so high. Once we were at the top we got out to walk around. They do have a restaurant up there and a gift shop, which we didn’t do either of those things. But we did walk around and enjoy the views. Sadly for us the only patch of clouds out that day were right where the peak of Mt. Rainier would be. We could see Mt. Adams off in the distance and other peaks in the Cascades. Both kids were nervous that they would fall off the side of the cliff, but we showed them that it was really just a gradual hill and that they were safe. (It really did feel like we were on the peak of a mountain and one wrong step would send us stumbling down!)
We walked around to get better views of everything. There were paths you could take and walk all the way back down the mountain, but the kids had no desire to do that. They were excited to ride the gondolas again! After we had our fill of walking around, looking at the scenery, we got back in line to ride the gondolas down. Once we were in the gondolas we were asking the kids if they thought elk or deer lived in the trees directly below us. We thought maybe they did, but since it was so busy we weren’t sure if they would come out. Like five seconds letter we look up and there’s a cow elk just sitting right under us. It was funny to see! It was actually the first and only elk we have seen since moving to Washington! The kids thought it was great and funny that we had just been talking about it!
We made it back to the car and had a peaceful drive home because kids fell asleep in the car! That is the great part about getting later starts to your day, you finish later and the kids are exhausted and sleep! I’m glad we went to Crystal Mountain and we really did have a great time! If you want a place with great views and that is accessible to all then this is the place! I do think I liked it better than Chris did. I think it was a little pricey for him and a little crowded. I think he would have rather been hiking somewhere else with less crowds. I loved it though and I thought it was stunning!