Down south: Mt Rainier’s border towns

Phew, it’s been awhile since I’ve been on an adventure. Turns out, today was a brilliant day for one.

In a hurry to get out of the house for a hike to Lower Mashel Falls in Eatonville, I incorrectly wrote the directions down (to a non-existent ‘address’ on a rural road). Determined not to let that stop me, I turned the day into an adventure!

I drove until a fork in the road, which turned out to be Alder Lake. I found it surprising I was the only visitor, that is, until I walked the few hundred paces to the edge of the lake, which was missing about several feet of water. Still, it’s a beautiful location. I think I even spotted a bald eagle!

From there, I drove through Elbe, and visited a tiny church built by German immigrants. Curiously, it’s nearly hidden by several train cars of bars, restaurants, and I believe a hotel! It still functions as a church, with services from spring to fall.

When a church visitor suggested I just take a left and head to Mineral, I didn’t need much convincing. I love a good oddly-named town. Mineral is home to, you guessed it, minerals, but also I learned, lots of fish! So, now I know where to go on my next fishing adventure. I didn’t stay much in the town, but drove by the general store, said hello to the fishes in Mineral Lake, and was swept up in advertising for the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad Museum, just 1.5 miles away! The gate was open, but like most museums on Monday, no one was there. So, I walked around a bit and said hello to the rail-cars before heading back out on the dirt road.

My next destination was another fork in the road: Morton. What a good name for a town, though it makes me laugh. It reminds me of Horton, the elephant (and town in NY). It was a small town with a typical downtown, though with sadly few shops, not even an ice cream shop.

I took the route westward to Cinebar, because oddly, a few weeks ago I saw it on the map and thought it’d be fun to visit. On the way, I saw where Christmas trees grow up: with grand views of their great-great-great grandparents and Mount Rainier! There is some beautiful countryside in Lewis County: I wish I could’ve captured it with my camera, but there wasn’t enough room to pull over on the roadway.

I’m certainly glad I didn’t visit Cinebar when I found it, because I couldn’t even find a community center or a ‘downtown,’ just rural roads with sponsorships from said community center, dotted with farmhouses and tree plantations. I half-heartedly attempted to visit the state bar near Cinebar, but when I realized I was heading in the opposite direction from the town I wanted to see, I turned around.

From there, it was straight through Onalaska and up I-5 through Chehalis and back into the city.

While the trip took 5 hours, it was mostly driving time. I didn’t stay much in each of the tiny towns, but would definitely go back.

Anyone want to gift me a Christmas tree ranch?




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