Mt. Rainier - Packwood

We stayed overnight in the Packwood area of Mt. Rainier National Park during our long weekend jaunt.
One thing we learned that cell service in the area is spotty…like we pretty much lost service as soon as we entered the vicinity of the Mt. Rainier forest area. Thank God the mapping apps still worked and got us to where we needed to go, but still, pay attention to the signs so you don’t miss a turn into a highway.
Our cabin was about 3 miles away from town. It’s a lovely area. Lush green forest. We made it a point to make sure that we were back at our cabin before nightfall…driving at night in the forest may not be the best of ideas when there’s not a lot of street lights and cell service is non-existent…should have added GPS to the rental car.
There are lots of lodges in the Packwood area. There are only a few restaurants in the area and one of them has a sign that they take their last order at 6:50PM. There were 7 of us and the local pizza place, Cruiser’s, seemed like the best place that would serve all of our needs. The kids ordered the Cruiser’s Combo, a pizza with all the toppings, and then even more cheese piled on top to where the pizza becomes at least 2 inches thick. My cousins shared the fried chicken plate and found that it’s hand battered and fried fresh…the batter and the chicken was quite good. The only problem is that they don’t change their oil often enough so the chicken is not as good as it could be. The burgers were not ideal, but the fries were at least good.
There’s a local grocery store in town called Blanton’s if you need basic supplies while you’re in town. We grabbed some water and items to make breakfast the next morning. The grocery store also had beer. If you need liquor, there’s a liquor store next door, but they close at 6PM. We made that mistake and went to the grocery store first only to walk over to the liquor store to find we had missed it by 10 minutes.
It is a very small town and the locals are nice, but interesting folks.
We hiked the Skyline trail while we were in the area…and it is simply gorgeous. Probably the best hike I have ever been on…meadows full of grass and flowers, waterfalls, creeks, glaciers, Mt. Rainier, a view of the Cascades, and snow! Do make sure you reapply sunscreen if you go…a couple in our party got sunburned.
We headed back to Seattle after the hike and found that cell service was restored in the Graham area…well past Ashford. The drive back was super scenic, too.

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My family and I were in the same area two weeks ago, and we also had dinner at Cruisers. Pizza was just ok (cheese on top of the meat, as you described) but what stood out to me was the chicken fried steak with country gravy. A taste of the Midwest. That and the $1.50 Budweisers.


Washington remains a bit backward as far as alcohol goes. It’s only been recently that you could buy it outside of state stores.

Except for GPS (ugh) wasn’t it nice to be incommunicado for a while? Our Seattle daughter and her family are frequently ‘off the grid’ for a week or more at a time. Climbing mountains, kayaking rivers, etc. Such peace.

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