Mount Rainier offers a myriad of opportunities to experience world-class scenery.
If you’re unfamiliar with the national park, it can be a little overwhelming to know which of the five entrances to use, what to see, and how to get the most out of your visit. Here’s where a professional tour guide can be a tremendous resource. Dozens of companies offer guided tours of Mount Rainier National Park. Before selecting a tour guide, think about what you hope to gain. Do you want a narrated bus ride through the park? Or do you want something more impactful? Recently we had a chance to catch up with Martin Wentzel, an Evergreen Escapes guide since 2013. Here’s what we discussed.
You’ve been offering tours for 13 years and earned the TripAdvisor “Hall of Fame” status. You’ve been recognized by National Geographic Traveler, CNN, Huffington Post, and USA Today. Does returning to Rainier year after year ever get old?
For me, returning to Mt. Rainier year after year never gets old. The park is just so beautiful and diverse that visiting excites me every single time. I notice the subtle changes from week to week, the more obvious changes from month to month, and the dramatic changes from season to season. It is an awe-inspiring wonderland that satisfies my desire for seeking adventure and witnessing undisturbed natural beauty.
What do you include in an Evergreen Escapes tour from Seattle to Mt. Rainier National Park?
On the way to Mt Rainier from Seattle my tour typically includes a blend of the natural history of the Pacific Northwest, the history and stories of the indigenous peoples who lived in the river valleys of Tahoma, themes of creation and destruction as we drive through volcanic hazard zones, impacts of western influence and industrialization, and a couple of corny jokes as well.
When is the best time to take one of your Rainier tours?
The best time to take one of my Rainier tours depends on the guest because the experience differs vastly from season to season. Each season is equally amazing. There is a better chance of seeing the mountain while visiting in the summer months, but that also brings more crowds and warmer temperatures. The fall is great for vibrant colors in the subalpine areas. Winter tours allow the guests to see more snow than they can even imagine, and we have a blast exploring the Paradise area on snowshoes, almost 20 feet above the ground level where flowers bloomed just months before. Spring on Rainier is filled with the energy of freshly sprouted vegetation, charging waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife becoming more active. So for me, it’s not easy to pick a favorite time of year since every time is glorious for different reasons.
Why is sustainability so important to you?
Sustainability is important to me because our planet is reaching a critical situation. We have limited resources and more humans than ever using these resources. The changing climate is impacting everyone, everywhere. In addition to solving energy and resource problems, for the health of our environment and the survival of the human race, the only option is to focus on sustainability.
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