Fifty two years on this planet. I decided to celebrate my birthday in the State where I was born, Washington.

I drive up to the Paradise Inn located at the base of Mount Rainier. Autumn is in full swing as the mountain meadows are turning colors and a slight nip is in the air. Before I even check into my room I hit the main trail towards the mighty mountain.

Epic vistas and a stunning waterfall are the highlights of my first afternoon here. I’m feeling strong and relaxed up in this high country.

This birthday marks 11 years until I hope to retire, but secretly I’m pretty sure I won’t even live that long. Grateful I am to be able to travel when I can now, so that all of my hopes and dreams aren’t held up on a notion that I can see the world once I stop working.

Evening comes and I watch the sunset over Mount Rainier National Park. The rooms here have no TV, as the goal is to have one fully immerse themselves in the natural surroundings.

I sleep well.

The next morning I get some coffee from the little deli in the lobby and head out into the pre-dawn to watch the world awaken from last night’s slumber. The hot steam from my coffee cup rises quickly in the cold air.

I decide to hike the Lakes Trail today.

Gorgeous views and long trails winding up and down mountains leave me feeling satisfied and spiritually full. When I arrive back at the Paradise Inn there is someone playing the piano in the lobby. A fire is going and people are quietly sitting enjoying a cocktail, or reading a book. So peaceful. I slide into an oversized chair and listen to the music.

Sunday comes too fast. My final day here and I get back on the main trail, but go a different direction. It’s quiet out here today, and I enjoy new views of the waterfall from a new angle. Deer grazing by a lake pay me no attention.

Before I know it, fifty three will be here.

or i’ll be having my ashes scattered.

Only time will tell…..

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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