Emily and Brad were already secretly married and planned to surprise their family and friends with epic elopement announcement photos. The view of Mt Rainier at sunrise from the Fremont Fire Lookout tour was the perfect backdrop for the surprise!
We arrived at the Paradise campground at 3 am, and I was impressed to see lots of cars and other sunrise warriors heading out for their hikes! As we hiked through the dusty trails in the dark, we could see a long line of headlamps bobbing ahead of us up the trail. We stopped for a quick star photo in front of the mountain- which we still couldn’t see with the naked eye! Every once in a while we could make out the lights of the most adventurous climbers already on Rainier.
We arrived at the lookout tower landing just as the sky began to lighten. Emily and Brad’s best friends were there to lend a helping hand- carry suits and dresses, and make sure everything looked perfect. Although it was August, there was a large area of snow where Emily and Brad decided to have their “first dance” – as their friends cheered from behind! The easterly view was phenomenal, but we knew that Rainier was about to light up right behind us in just a few moments.
Sure enough, as soon as the sun peeked above the horizon, Rainier was awash in a pink and orange glow- a truly spectacular vista of this great mountain, and an incredibly special inclusion in Brad and Emily’s wedding photos. They are both in the Army, and about to leave Washington behind on deployments. For this couple, making sure to celebrate in the National Park where they love to climb and hike together was the perfect embodiment of their decision to adventure together for the rest of their lives!
We explored the fire lookout tower and took a few more portraits before heading back down to the trail. This time, we could take our time and enjoy the alpine wildflowers, glacial ice at Frozen Lake, and look for wildlife. Although Emily’s hopes of seeing a bear didn’t pan out, we saw a stately grey fox, deer, and plenty of cheeky squirrels!
August 17, 2020