What an awesome weekend to visit Mt. Rainier National Park! The weather was warm and sunny, perfect for camping. The Ohanapecosh (pronounced o - han' - a - peh - cosh) Campground is in the southeast corner of the Park, snuggled in a valley next to the rushing Ohanapecosh River. After an unsuccessful attempt to back the trailer into our reserved campsite, the ranger told us about another site that might be better for us. It wasn't as level, but we managed to get the trailer in and set up successfully. This site was next to a tiny stream with downed timber across and around it - great for kids to climb. It was also a much quieter part of the camp. Across the street from us was a group of neighbors camping together with several younger children for dd Kirsten to play with.
Saturday we got moving fairly early in order to reach the visitor center at Sunrise before many of the day travelers filled the parking lot. Having done the prerequisite rounds at the visitor center, we set out on the trail for a little hiking. Kirsten and I did a 1-1/2 mile nature trail loop, while the boys went a little farther, out to Dege Point. The first part of the trail, probably 1/2 mile, up the hill was the most difficult part of the walk, but we were rewarded with beautiful views of the Cascades to the north once we crested the ridge. And of course, Mt. Rainier dominates the landscape. After our walk, Kirsten and I rested in the car for a bit then went to the gift shop to buy our souvenir pin. (Since buying the trailer, I try to buy pins at all the spots we visit.) Soon the guys returned and after a trip into Greenwater for gas, we had a late lunch back at the camp.
After we'd rested a bit there was one more quick hike on the day's agenda - to Silver Falls just a mile away from the campground. We cheated a little and drove to a parking area next to the highway, then walked down the hill to the falls. What a pretty spot!
Sunday the guys had a big hike planned up to Shriner Peak, 8.4 miles round trip and a gain in elevation of 3434 feet. They left following a good breakfast, loaded down with lots of bottled water and snacks. A little after noon they arrived at the top of the peak. After refueling a bit, taking some pictures, and enjoying the view, they trekked back down the hill.
Meanwhile Kirsten and I had a very pleasant day at camp. We took several walks around different areas of the campground, discovering another small waterfall and taking note of a few really great campsites for future trips. While Kirsten was playing with her new friends, I settled in for some good stitching time out in the glory of the forest, listening to the tinkle of the creek and the whirring sound of the raven flying overhead. Oh it was glorious!
After Gary and the boys had returned to camp and eaten some lunch, we had some surprise visitors - Connie, John, and Lizzie Dunton! They'd decided to take an afternoon drive and try to find us at Ohanapecosh since we were only a couple of hours from Olympia! We had a great visit, it's always fun to get together. Earlier I'd marinated some chicken, lots of it as if all my family was there, so there was plenty and we just scrubbed up some extra potatoes and had a really nice dinner. Thanks for dropping in on us Connie, you guys really made the weekend!
This morning we slept in a bit. Poor DH is really feeling that long hike. In an effort to loosen up a bit, we went down to the Ohanapecosh visitor center, listened to a ranger talk about the soil, then walked the nature trail to the hot springs. Then it was time to pack up and get out of the campground. But we'll definitely be going back!