MOUNT RAINIER, Wash. – A visit to the Mount Rainier area isn’t just about seeing the mountain … it’s about setting off on an adventure through the hills to discover nature at its finest while creating fun memories along the way. Visit Rainier Public Relations Representative Julie Johnson took a small group on a Hunt the Hills tour around Mount Rainier, which led to some useful tips and unexpected albeit great moments.
Chef Ky Loop – a locavore chef at Kelly’s Mercantile in Enumclaw, WA. – took the group foraging for berries and mushrooms in the forest. When hunting huckleberries, remember that the blue berries grow at higher elevations than the red berries and both can be found in the Mount Rainier area. Chef Ky told the group to always keep in mind that when looking for mushrooms, “shiny is scary”. While searching for edibles, Chef Ky was able to bugle in a bull elk close enough for the group to watch and photograph the majestic animal in its natural environment. After gathering ingredients, he taught the foragers how to prepare a delectable dish using items they found in nature; the locally sourced meal included tender elk, braised greens and wild chanterelle mushrooms for everyone to enjoy at Alta Crystal Resort.
The group was also able to go fishing for trout at Alexander’s Country Inn & Restaurant. Everyone was eager to participate but not excited about handling the wriggling trout. Laughter filled the air as fishing poles reeled in flopping fish and the group members were forced to hang on to their line and secure their prize – not as easy as it looks!
These lucky participants were able to chat with local flora and wildlife experts, enjoy the fall colors blanketing the area, sip on homemade nettle blackberry tea and learn how small farms are working together to promote local food. This type of amazing experience goes to show that you don’t have to just see “the sites” when on vacation – if you take some time to learn about the area, partake in local activities and meet the people who call it home, you will be able to find the true heart of any place.
For more information about seasonal outdoor activities and foraging fun in the Mount Rainier area, visit www.visitrainier.com.