Starting in early May, over 200 people arrive to work in Mount Rainier National Park. These people come from all over the world to spend the summer in the Park. These people live and work on the mountain. They are split between the National Park Inn, Paradise Inn, and Sunrise Visitor Center. The staff comes from different walks of life; the college students, the park bums, and the retires looking for something to do.
You can walk to work.
The staff lives in or near the Inns or near them. A couple of the retirees come with their RV’s and live at the base of the mountain. Everyone else lives on the mountain. I had a 4-minute walk from my dorm room to work.
Further reading – 5 Tips to Help You Adjust to Higher Altitudes
You live in history.
Most of the staff in Paradise lives in the historic building. The girls are split between the Paradise Inn and the Guide Services building. I lived in the Guide Servies building. I shared a tiny room with a roommate, mouse, and two bicycles.
Get to enjoy the fresh powder before the tourist arrive.
Most of the staff arrives about two weeks before the inn opens. We get to enjoy the last couple of snowfalls before guests descend on the Inn.
You get to adopt wildlife as a pet
This doesn’t mean we feed or take care of them. We just see the same animals every day. They kind of become that person you see on the subway and nod your head at.
This is the view you see every day.
This does assume that the mountain is out. She likes to hide behind the clouds.
After work activities, included a hike down the mountain.
When you get off work, you are in the National Park. A friend and I decided after we got off work one day to hike down the mountain. It was early season so the trail wasn’t well marked so we had a fun “I hope we are still on the trail” hike. We took comfort when we found the river and snow covered bridge.
Plenty of time to hike the Wonderland Trail.
Wonderland Trail is a 92-mile hike that circles Mount Rainier. It usually takes between 8-14 days to hike completely. Working in the park makes it easy to section hike on your days off.
You make amazing friends.
Every summer, people from all over the USA, Romania, Turkey, Singapore, Jamaica, Colombia, and many more arrive. Everyone blends to form a community. There is always someone up for hiking, climbing or having an adventure.