Hello Ali, I just read your trip report and I must admit, I am very proud of you. You have the right attitude and yes, you probably got as much or more out of your Rainier climb than those who actually made the summit. You had the privilege of enjoying and obviously cherishing the views from the Flats and Muir. How incredible is it right!? :-)
When people (especially non climbers who think I am completely mad!) ask me why I climb mountains, my answer usually revolves around the heavenly views and how awesome it is to be above the clouds ... not to mention the sense of accomplishment and empowerment after a climb.
I think that one of the best things about climbing is the view and most of all, just the feeling of being above the clouds!!! And yes, the feeling of accomplishment is undescribable...All of my friends here at home don't really understand what it really means to "climb a mountain"...So it is REALLY nice to be able to actually relate to someone else!!
This summer I will hopefully give it another go on Rainier as well as Adams and possibly Hood!!