I love the Winter holidays here. There are long bank holidays on festivals we either don’t celebrate or have a quiet time at home because there are no family visits to pack in. This gives us a lot of time to explore the area. The weather isn’t warm but there is so much to see and do here that looks beautiful in any weather.
For Thanksgiving weekend we took the family on a trip to Mount Ranier National Park and for a ride on Mount Ranier Scenic Railway ‘s Santa Express.
We entered the park at Longmire rather than the larger entrance at Paradise. At Longmire there is a restaurant, a small gift shop and a museum (this wasn’t open).
The girls were very excited to find snow, every few feet my youngest would stoop down to pick it up.
We then went for a short walk along the trail. My adventurous family hate to stick to the path, so soon we came across a river and we slid down the bank to see if we could get across.
My husband carried the little ones across but it wasn’t long before they were wading through the water themselves, just about managing to keep their clothes dry, even if their feet got a little wet. What a beautiful place it was, the wide expanse is so different from anything you get in the UK. My husband (followed by the dog) soon practised his balancing act on a tree stump closely followed by my eldest.
The twilight was drawing in so we made our way back across to the path. We walked back to the car holding hands as we felt it getting darker around us. The girls were a little scared and a little excited to walk while it was getting dark but were reassured by the road nearby with its comforting lights.
The boots and socks were dried out overnight and we headed to Elbe for our train ride. We gathered a few provisions in the local store. I loved the sign explaining the demographics of Elbe ‘population – not many’.
We soon saw the train arriving.
Once the train departed the guard informed us that we could see Santa, we made our way through the many carriages trying hard not to fall and passing the many Christmas trees. Santa was in his grotto and the girls each had a nice gift and a candy cane.
By the time we arrived back from Santa we had almost reached the mid-point of the journey. I have to admit I was a little disappointed by the views. I expected stunning mountain views but instead we saw forest, farms and rivers. The girls watched out for wildlife whilst playing with their new toys.
The train ride lasted around 2 hours which seemed to pass very quickly. A lovely start to our Christmas festivities. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Mount Ranier when the weather is warmer.