Ryan Thayne is an adventurer and photographer living outside of Salt Lake City, Utah who has a love for the outdoors. See why TIME Magazine named him one of the Top 50 Instagram accounts to follow. He just returned from an Instagram takeover in Seattle as a part of Alaska’s Weekend Wanderer series. For more Weekend Wanderer posts, make sure you’re following Alaska Airlines on Instagram.
By Ryan Thayne, Salt Lake City, Utah
No doubt, Alaska flies to some of the most beautiful places in the country which are easy to explore in a week or a weekend. As a nature photographer, I carefully select where I want to be for sunrise and sunset and then use the time in between to explore. Since the flight from Salt Lake to Seattle and drive to Mount Rainier took less than four hours, I decided to plan my three day trip wandering around two of Washington’s most noted peaks – Mount Rainier and the Space Needle.
At 14,409 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier dominates the entire Puget Sound region. Even on an overcast day this mountain stands out above the clouds so it wasn’t hard to find. One of the unexpected highlights during my visit to the 236,000 acre national park was listening to elk bugling the first night I arrived. Sunrise from Reflection Lake was gorgeous and the waterfalls breathtaking. If you visit, I’d recommend bypassing hotel chains for one of the quaint, smaller park lodges like National Park Inn. With only 25 rooms, the inn offers great guest service and meals to go.
After a day and half spent hiking around Mount Rainier, I ventured to one of the region’s other notable structures, the Space Needle. If you’ve never visited Seattle and only have a short time to explore, there is no better way to take in the city than at 520 feet. From there, I meandered through the streets on foot and made my way to Pike Place Market and then found the nearby Bubble Gum Wall, one of Seattle’s most filthy and fascinating tourist attractions.
The trip was short, but the experience is one I’ll always remember. Thanks @AlaskaAir!