Friday, August 28, 2009

Summer Camp

We don't camp like most other people, I know that. I come up with menus, Dayne makes cocktails and we go on easy hikes and nice drives. This year we added the comfort of a queen size Aero mattress. Damn I could live in the "wild" for a few weeks with our plush bed now!

A couple of weeks ago we headed out towards the Sunrise side of Mt. Rainier. It was an easy drive, through the cute town of Enumclaw and out towards Crystal Mountain Resort. We found a great spot at Silver Springs Campground, right on the mostly dry riverbed and not too close to other campers. Since it only took us about 1.5 hours from the time we left the house to get to the campground we had an entire day to explore so we headed out to Sunrise Visitor's Center with a picnic lunch.

The drive up to the center is breathtaking! Neither of us had been on this side of the mountain so it was all new to us. Amazing views of the glacier and the summit as well as surrounding peaks & valleys.


After checking out the very nice visitor's center we sat down and had lunch facing Mt. Rainier in the warm sunshine. We've been around the world and seen amazing sites but the site of that mountain up close and personal is always stunning!

After lunch we went on a easy hike on the Silver Forest Trail so we could see the wildflowers. I've never seen all the meadows full of wildflowers before and Dayne's aunt and uncle talk about how pretty it is so we were really happy to have such a gorgeous day to see them!

 
Purple, red and funny "Dr Suess" flowers studded the hills around the trails. And we only saw 2 other couples on the trail!

Our second day our weather wasn't as good so we decided to drive across the Chinook Pass towards Naches. Again the scenery up to the pass was amazing, until we entered into a cloud and Dayne had to drive 20 MPH! It was the thickest thing I'd ever seen and it got thicker and thicker as we went! When we got up to the pass the cloud was moving in and out. It was beautiful!

 
We stopped at a funny motel/restaurant called Whistlin Jack's Lodge for lunch and then headed back across Chinook Pass and then south across Cayuse Pass and up Rainier to the Paradise Visitor's Center- which is brand new and really cool. Unfortunately the clouds were so low on the mountain that even standing right at the lodge you wouldn't have known there was a mountain there at all!
On our way home the last day, we stopped at the Dalles Campground to look at the giant Douglas Fir that is over 700 years old and almost 300 feet tall. It's big, it's really big. And things like that amaze me because I always wonder how it didn't get logged, burned down or died of a disease. Think of the things that tree has seen over 700 years!

More photos from our camping trip are here!