Today, Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad stands as a bridge to the past, whisking passengers through timbered foothills, alongside mountain streams, and across wooden trestles aboard trains led by restored locomotives. But roughly 34 years ago, the company was just an idea bouncing around the head of Tom Murray Jr., who made it his mission to preserve the sights, sounds, and experiences of a bygone era.
With the help of a friend, and later, many volunteers, Tom established MRSR as a tourist train service, a title the company retains to this day. As a result, the last three decades have been filled with seasonal weekly excursions that send customers chugging around the forestry that unfurls in the shadows of Mt. Rainier. Volunteers still maintain the majority of the organization, and with every ride, passengers are reminded that railroads have linked the United States in a manner that airplanes, cars, and gas-powered pogo sticks never could.
Upon returning from the battlefields of Korea, George Shin sought a way to maintain fitness and discipline in his life. He then discovered Isshinryu, a style of karate he still practices and teaches to this day, despite nearing his 90th birthday. For more than 40 years, those classes have been part of Washington Isshinryu Society, where George captains a squad of black-belt instructors each with 10+ years of training. Together, they teach students the fundamentals of the discipline, from proper stances to masterfully executed kicks. They also lead rebounding exercises, wherein pupils hop on mini-trampolines to gain muscle tone.
At Operation Paintball, Mother Nature provides the cover: massive tree roots bulge from the ground at the edge of a field, sheltering players from the gobs of paint whizzing past their ears. Beyond the natural bunkers, the five outdoor fields boast manmade obstacles—including barrels, old cars, and inflatables—behind which teammates strafe, dodge, and teleport their way to the safety of two-story towers. Play rotates among the fields throughout the day, presenting players with various scenarios such as Capture the Flag and Elimination.
Body Fun Fitness’s owners, Melanie Hendershot and Debbie Mann, are passionate about fitness, a passion that manifests itself in a roster of high-energy classes that disguise heart-pumping exercise in fun alternative workouts. Melanie, Debbie, and their troupe of certified instructors demonstrate easy-to-follow latin dance moves during Zumba classes. Or, the team and its students shake hips along to live polynesian drumbeats during Hot Hula fitness classes. Since Melanie also believes in infusing exercise with joy early on in life, she leads a variety of kids' fitness classes that mask workouts in playtime like wearing no makeup masks the work of being a clown. She designed a workout in which kids wear trampoline-inspired Kangaroo Jumps shoes, which promote safe running and have many benefits. Melanie’s roster also includes drumming fitness classes that inspire youngsters to get in shape while enjoying music, practicing rhythm, and learning the drum solos from The Beatles’ experimental childhood years.