We got just back from a few nights of camping near Mt. Rainier National Park. Typing is a good distraction to keep me from scratching my bug bites. It’s also a good distraction from my achy legs. My boys love to hike. They did a certain hike last summer without me and they were so excited to have me come along this year. When it comes to hiking, I would prefer a level walk through a shaded forest on a moderately cool day. What I did with my boys on Monday was scaling a mountain. The trail went up, up, and away. We had to cross patches completely covered in snow. We were close to needing hiking equipment to do this actual hike. By the end of the mountain climbing, my legs were physically shaking! My boys continually surprise me with their stamina. Graham didn’t love the snowy parts because they were slippery, but other than that, my kids climbed a mountain like it was no big deal. They were the only kids we encountered on this steep expedition. Apparently they are mountain goats.
We saw many marmots on our hiking adventures. The boys did their best to hold still and see how close they could get to a marmot. Owen borrowed my old point-and-shoot camera to document the hike. It’s fun to see him process what is worthy of a photo. On one hike, he took a notebook to draw pictures along the way. Other than hiking and marmots, we played the license plate game as we drove around the park. We were surprised to find 40/50 plates. America is still traveling this summer. The effects of COVID-19 were seen throughout the park. Visitor centers were closed, masks were worn in common areas and we used hand sanitizer frequently.
Our campground was right by the Cowlitz River, so the boys played in the river multiple times. They loved throwing rocks and exploring the shallow shores. We set up our big tent and the boys loved having their own room because of a thin sheet that separated the space. We ate lots of yummy camp food. Honestly, camp food is one of my favorite reasons to go camping. I also love reading around the fire which I found a few moments to do while Jeremy took the boys down to the river. Our fires were small and short because of the hot weather. This was the warmest camping trip I’ve ever been on. It was in the 90’s while we were there. At night we went to bed only wanting a thin blanket and only much later into the night did we want anything warmer. It also wouldn’t be a camping adventure without an air mattress that doesn’t stay inflated. Poor Owen started in his own bed and had to move on to Graham’s in the middle of the night. We certainly made some memories!
It’s still 2020 and even camping had some differences due to COVID-19, but overall, we enjoyed all the things that we love about camping. I will admit that a cute Air B&B cabin is more my style these days, but I roughed it with my boys and I know they appreciated it. It was nice to get away for a few days. It’s been forever since I’ve stayed overnight anywhere and it felt like I had been gone a month instead of a few days. I always love coming home, but it was also great to have adventure outside of our usual territory. It was just the mini-vacation we needed!