In our house she goes by her full name. It’s not Mt Rainier….it’s the full Mountain Rainier. Unless she’s The Sleeping Volcano. Take you pick, my dramatic daughter (the verbal one) has her nicknames for everything.
For my birthday I wanted to go camping. It’s strange, but true. We found a spot in the Ohanapecosh campground on Rainier’s southeastern side. It was the most lovely campsite I can remember…..while there wasn’t really any privacy (no underbrush), there was a little creek running right behind our tent pad. For a little kid camping with the family – it was perfection. She stream hopped for hours and made friends with some of the other kiddos at neighboring campsites.
It was a short weekend away, even though we managed to get out before the Friday Afternoon Exodus from Seattle. We spent all of Friday evening exploring the campground and explaining to our deflated daughter why the ranger station & ranger talks were suspended for the whole summer in our campground due to budget cuts. We tried to do it nicely. What a bummer. We walked down to the Ohanapecosh river, where our little creek joined it’s big brother. When the girls are older this would be a stellar spot for spending a day – rock climbing, swimming, catching fish, trying not to care that the mountain river is freezing….. It’s a beautiful, fast-moving mountain river that runs right through the campground. Lovely.
That night we had the most exciting adventure of our trip – a HUGE thunderstorm. It was massive. It made blogs. People posted YouTube videos of the lightening. One of Andrew’s coworkers said it was the worst she’d seen in 15 years. And it was right on top of us. Thankfully it wasn’t terribly windy, so it wasn’t the scariest thunderstorm we’ve weathered in a tent……but it was pretty hairy. Evelyn was terrified at first, but she put her hands over her ears and cuddled close…..but she was a trooper and managed to fall asleep eventually. Claire was asleep when it started and never flinched. “Sleeping like a baby”, if you will. We were all a bit tired in the morning, but we were about the only people in the loop who were also DRY. Super kudos to our trusty tent!!!
Saturday we made it to the Grove of the Patriarchs. This trail was really exciting for Andrew and I – way back in 2007 we’d tried to take this trail during the few hours we had to spend at Mt Rainier on our way from Yakima to the Columbia River Gorge. Due to the severity of the spring storms, the bridge was out and the whole trail was shut down. Bummer. This year, however, we got to see the giant old trees in all their glory. Even Evelyn was impressed, though she is undoubtedly tired of looking at trees. After that we found a lovely picnic spot near Paradise, drove around a bit, and found we had two exhausted kiddos making up for lost sleep in their carseats. Hopes for another hike were dashed, but we were thankful the whining had ceased and enjoyed the time together.
Sunday we packed up to go home, much to the girls’ dismay. Claire loves being outside and found she could drag her feet & fingers through the mulch while sitting in the bumbo. Evelyn made friends with some 10 year old boys who were “fishing” (no hooks, makeshift rods, tons of fun!) and made an extra pole for her. She’d also found some kiddos her age across the creek making dirt pies and fell madly in love with them all. She was desperate to stay, but alas….
On our way out we stopped to do *some* of the Naches Peak Trail. Otherwise known as Nacho Mountain. It was gorgeous – loads of alpine meadows with amazing wildflowers in full bloom – lakes in lots of spaces – and Evelyn was doing a great job of hiking. The thunder started rolling in, though, and some other hikers mentioned that it was worse on the other side of the mountain. We sighed heavy sighs and did the Responsible Parent thing and turned around. Next time, Nacho Mountain. Next time.