MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. – The road to Paradise is open once more.
Six months after November floods ravaged the main road in this park in the Washington Cascades — along with campgrounds, trails and the wild country in general — the way to Mount Rainier's main visitor center reopened Saturday.
An hour before the opening, more than 100 cars and trucks had already lined up outside the park's Nisqually entrance, The Olympian newspaper reported.
"I'm going to get up to Paradise, set up my tent and go up to Camp Muir for the day," Curtis Plumb said as he readied his 44-pound backpack. "Then I'm going back down to Paradise and stay the night.
"Yeah, I'm excited to get up there."
Nearly 18 inches of rain fell in just 36 hours last fall at Mount Rainier, which draws 1.5 million visitors annually. The deluge caused an estimated $36 million in damage, washed away miles of roads and trails and forced the closure of the park for the first time in a quarter-century.
Visitor centers and services will be open at each of the corners of the park, but some roadways running through the park could remain closed all summer as repairs continue.