Mt. Rainier

Last weekend I went camping with some friends up at Mt. Rainier. We started early on Saturday morning, meeting at WinCo to consolidate into my car and a truck. The drive up was cramped but uneventful. When we got to our campsite (Ohanapecosh is the name of the site, which is a few miles away from Mt. Rainier), we were a little early and the previous campers hadn’t yet vacated the spot, so we decided to just go directly up to the mountain. We found a parking spot and had lunch, then walked up to the lodge and found our trail. Almost immediately the trail was covered with snow, and indeed practically the whole mountain was white. I was wearing shorts and tennis shoes intentionally; I knew that while hiking it was going to get hot despite the snow, and the other shoes I could have worn were steel-toed work boots. It was a fun hike, though. The snow was nice, and even though my feet got soaked I was never cold or uncomfortable. In fact, I was doing better than most people, thanks to a rigorous walking during the Europe trip that left me in good shape. We walked a few miles; enough to get some great views and have some fun. On the way down, I used the shoes to my advantage and skated down the steepest hills I could find. Video will be posted as soon as I can get my hands on it. We got back to the lodge and rested for a bit, then headed out in a different direction on the mountain for another shorter hike. This one took us to some waterfalls. We climbed around on them for a while, then went back.

When we arrived at our campsite again, everyone else set up their tents, Carolyn started dinner, and I helped as much as I could. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers around the fire, then graduated to chocolate and marshmallows. There was a ring of shoes and socks around the fire, drying out after the day’s hikes. At about 9, everyone went to a presentation by a ranger while I volunteered to stay and tend to the fire. I started a book that immediately grabbed my attention, and before I knew it everyone had returned. Shortly after, we put out the fire and headed to bed. I had decided to sleep in my car rather than bring a tent, and it worked out fairly well. I definitely could have used more legroom, but I was mostly comfortable and glad I didn’t have to set up or take down or clean or do anything with a tent.

In the morning, I changed and rolled up my sleeping bag and shaved and was packed and ready before most people had woken. Carolyn and Nick made pancakes and sausage for breakfast, which we ate around the resurrected fire. We finished packing and started a final hike, this time nearby. I had finished off the bag of marshmallows, so I had a bit of energy to spare anyway. It was a pretty hike, this time on a nice trail through the woods beside a raging creek/river. At the end of the trail, a bridge was out because of a flood a few months ago, so we turned around and walked back. Once there, we got in our cars and headed home, stopping at Miner’s in Yakima for a snack.

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