Camping by Mt. Rainier

Camping by Mt. Rainier

The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place, from its mountains to the sea of evergreen trees that populate much of the landscape. It's truly a blessing to be only an hour drive (sometimes even less) from quiet seclusion and dense trails.

A few weeks ago while the weather was nice, we went out to enjoy some of Washington's great outdoors.

After a two mile uphill hike with 40 lbs of backpack strapped on, we were glad to have a few moments of rest at our campsite before setting up for the weekend. Tents went up, sleeping bags were unfurled, and a fire pit was constructed. It was at this point we realized no one had thought to bring any outdoor chairs; the effort that went into putting together makeshift benches out of tree trunks was tiresome enough that I don't think we'll forget them again.

Once camp was set, we were off to explore the area -- those I was with had been to the spot before, but it was all new to me, and I think everyone relished the opportunity to show off the sights.

I wasn't disappointed! Down a hill from the fire pit, we had our very own bank on a lake lined with cliffs that were perfectly situated for crisp echoes. It was tadpole season, and there were thousands swimming across the shallow waters by shore. Though the water was too cold to swim in, we did bring an inflatable boat, but not only did it only have enough room for one person, we had forgotten the oars! We determined that next time we would bring a bigger boat with oars, or perhaps some floats.

On the opposite side of camp was a small stream where we could filter water and wash our dishes, but which served more than a purely functional purpose. At the dropoff point of the stream, at the precipice of a steep hill that could almost have been a cliff, was a huge tree stump from which the best view of the entire camping grounds could be had.

In the mornings, Mt. Rainier was usually half-diluted by fog and mist, but at dusk she was dressed in pink and deep indigo against the half-lit sky; this was when she was the most breathtaking, in our collective opinion. Of course, we couldn't stare all weekend, so we spent much of our time either cleaning up the grounds or sitting around the fire, sharing food and stories, and though the logs weren't the most comfortable places to rest, the time was passed easily until we had to leave.

One good thing about an uphill hike at the beginning is that it means there is a downhill hike waiting for you, for which my legs were very grateful.