Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mt. Rainier 2011

Would you believe that, for all the traveling and camping I did growing up, I have never ever been to Mt. Rainier?  Well, I haven't.  Nathan, on the other hand, grew up camping there.  So I had no idea what all the hype was about when Nathan's mom, sister, and aunt would talk about Mt. Rainier in such glowing terms.

Thankfully, Nathan's Aunt Diane fixed that problem.  She sent out an email a couple months ago asking if anyone would like to join her for a few days at her two tent camp site.  I somehow managed to  get the days off, and we headed up there on Tuesday afternoon to join her, Nathan's mom, Kate, Eliot & Sweet Baby James for a couple of days.  We arrived just in time to provide a spaghetti dinner for everyone, and then enjoy some s'mores, courtesy of Kate & Eliot.

I had to admit, I was a little nervous about taking the boys tent camping for the first time, but I think their couple of trips in the camper with Gigi and Papa helped prepare them.  They did great!  They were pretty good about keeping themselves entertained during the times that we were busy making meals and such, and had no problem falling asleep (and staying asleep) in the tent that night.  This, in and of itself, was a minor miracle, because it was SOOOOOO COLD that night!!!  Of course, the boys were probably toasty warm, because they ended up with the mummy bags that are rated for 0 degrees, while Nathan and I had some thin flannel sleeping bags and froze our butts off all night!

The next morning, we had a leisurely breakfast of blueberry pancakes with Aunt Diane and just kind of hung around until Kate & Eliot showed up to say goodbye.  We then joined Jan up at Paradise Inn, had some lunch (highway robbery, I tell you...$25 for two bbq shredded pork sandwiches, four small bags of chips, and one soda!!!), then took the boys on a hike to Myrtle falls.  At 1 mile round trip, it was the shortest hike from the Inn, and was absolutely beautiful.

The boys did a great job, we only carried them for the last .2 miles on the way up.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy the entire time so we never really got to see the mountain itself, but the wild flowers were out and absolutely beautiful, and the views were breathtaking.

After hiking a mile and a game of "chase Aunt Diane" at the Visitor's Center, the boys crashed for a fantastically long nap in the tent before dinner.  They were sleeping so hard, that Levi stayed asleep through us waking up Asher, Asher crying while we changed him, and then us packing up a bunch of the stuff in the tent.  He was SO ticked when we finally woke him up, ha ha ha!

Because of how cold it had been the night before and then all of Wednesday, we all decided to cut the trip short a day and head home that night after dinner.  We enjoyed some tacos made by Diane, packed up our ridiculous amount of packing stuff, and finally hit the road around 7 pm.  The mountain made a surprise appearance at the last possible moment, just after we turned onto Hwy 7, and it was so beautiful!  We were on track to get home around 10:30, but somehow managed to hit some major construction on Hwy 205 just outside of Portland, and ended up not getting home until around, that pissed the boys off!  But wow did our hot showers and warm, soft bed feel good!

All in all, I'd say our first camping trip with the boys was a total success, and I can't wait to do it again! Maybe next time the mountain will actually be visible, lol!  And now, some photos!

 Levi (left) & Asher enjoying their first ever pita pocket sandwich, a Morgan family camping staple.

The boys and Aunt Diane in the 'kitchen', with the HUGE tent we were in.  Thanks for the loan, Mom! 

 Diane's tent in the other half of the camp site.

Not sure what Levi is doing here...maybe telling Daddy that it's time to go on our hike, already! 

See those clouds?  That's where the mountain is, I swear! 

Looking toward Paradise Inn from the Visitor's Center. 

The top of the 1 mile round trip hike.  We were at 5600 feet and it was about 45 degrees.  But so pretty!

Top of Myrtle Falls. 

The creek above the falls, looking toward where the mountain would be if it weren't covered by clouds. 

 Daddy and Levi on the bridge.

 Levi (left) and Asher in front of the creek.

Myrtle Falls. 

Daddy and the boys on the hike back down to the Inn. 

Magenta Indian Paint Brush...this has always been my favorite wild flower.

The End!

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