For the last several years, we visited the Tacoma, WA area in the summer to see our oldest son, Scott, and daughter, Elisabeth. Then the next summer we would see our other son, David, in Lansing, MI. This year we decided to break the mold and get everyone together in Washington. Dave flew out to join us for a week.
We got everyone together for dinner at our campsite and spent a lot of time catching up and playing games. Sorry, I was too busy enjoying the time to take any pictures!
Scott, and his oldest daughter, Katrina, joined the rest of us (Elisabeth, Dave, Pat and I) to travel to Mount Rainer to hike some of the trails. Our first stop was the Grove of the Patriarchs. This is a small island of HUGE trees. Some are more the 40 feet in diameter and over 300 feet tall. The trail led us to a suspension bridge across the river to the Grove. The National Park Service has limited the bridge to one person at a time. With traffic going in both directions there was quite a wait before we could cross. As I crossed the bridge I recognized the wisdom of this limitation, the bridge was very wiggly as we crossed!
The trees in the Grove are just awesome; to say they are huge is an understatement. These trees are thousands of years old! Where trees have died and fallen, there are new trees growing out of the old trunks.
After we finished the Grove of the Patriarchs, we crossed the road to hike the Silver Falls Loop. What a change from the Patriarchs, with much younger trees on a trail that followed the Ohanapecosh River. We passed several small waterfalls and rapids until we reached Silver Falls. It was a great day for a hike and the scenery was terrific.
On our way out of the park, we stopped at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center. The Center is at a higher elevation then the Grove and we were treated to a good view of the snowfield at the base of Mount Rainer, even on June 29th! Many of the trails were closed due to the snow. We were able to give Dave a great view of Mount Rainer.
Thursday Dave and I drove to Everett to visit the Boeing Museum of Flight. Dave and I are both aviation junkies and we loved touring the museum. Boeing has done a professional job in displaying their collection.
The T.A. Wilson Great Gallery displays more than fifty historic aircraft from a replica of the Wright Flyer to the M21 Blackbird (a variation of the SR-71 Blackbird). Aircraft are displayed on the floor and suspended from the ceiling. The display discussed the development of aviation and aviation services, such as airmail, crop dusters, and bush pilots.
The J. Elroy McCae Personal Courage Wing displays aircraft from WWI and WWII. While we enjoyed seeing aircraft that have been restored to flying condition, the personal stories of the pilots and commanders were more interesting to me.
The outdoor Aviation Pavilion gave us the opportunity to see large aircraft like the B-17 and B-29. We were able to go inside the Boeing 707 (VC-137) Air Force One that supported Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Secretary of State Kissinger later used it in his “shuttle diplomacy” for the Vietnam and the Middle East. We were also able to tour the original Boeing 747, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and Boeing 727.
Our final stop was the “Red Barn,” the original Boeing manufacturing plant. Inside we were able to see some of the original tools and replicas of aircraft of the era under construction.
On Friday, we celebrated Dave’s birthday with a special meal and Saturday we were up before dawn to take Dave to the airport. It was a great visit and even better to have our whole family in one place, even for a short time.