Spending more than 48 hours in the great out-of-doors makes me feel like yodeling.
As I sit down to type this post of epic proportions, I have to wonder how it went by so darn fast. It seems like yesterday we were at QFC, filling our cart with Bud Light Limes and Hebrew Nats. Perhaps that’s where I should start, n’est pas?
Firewood, beer, hot dogs and bug spray. These are just a few of the supplies Bry and I snagged on Friday in preparation for our first official camping trip in Washington since our September move further west! Bry had mapped out our Saturday schedule which looked a little something like this:
- 4:00 am – Wake up
- 4:30 am – Drive to camping ground at White River
- 7:00 am – Arrive to camp-spot
- 9:00 am – Begin day hike to Sunrise
- 1:00 pm – Lunch break at Sunrise Visitor Center
- 2:00 pm – Hike Wonderland Trail back to camp spot
- 3:30 pm – Arrive camp spot
The 4 am wake up was just wonderful. Brought me right back to my days working at the Starbucks in the Davenport Hotel. I used to sleep in my uniform.
I rolled myself into the Jeep and surrounded myself with pillows and blankets while Bryan hit the 24-hour Starbucks in Kirkland for a venti misto. I awoke as Bryan pulled into the campsite at White River and marveled at well, the White River. It really is white. Very LOTRish.
We finagled our camping spot and Bry Jet-Boiled me up a VIA to combat the low temps. I slapped my face a few times (Harry from Dumb & Dumber style) and completed a set of 25 jumping jacks to wake up my lethargic stems. Then, we hit the tray-tray.
It started off with a gradual incline and after only 15 minutes I inquired as to the length of our excurion. We thought we were in for a 10 mile day which sounded about as good as a soggy ham sammy on a hot day. I got the majority of my complaints out within the first hour of the hike…’my legs hurt’, ‘so how far is it again?’, ‘I wish we could just switch bodies so you knew how I feel’…
I spoke of the heaps of work I had in front of me – preparing for Megan’s bachelorette party the coming weekend by making a cake, shopping for my LBD (the theme), securing a lunch reservation and buying a gift. OH – not to mention cleaning our entire apartment. No sweat, Nat. It’ll all come together. So, I pulled up my already-above-the-bellybutton gray hiking pants from REI and pressed on.
The trail evened out, got steeper, evened out, got steeper. We had traveled 3 miles on our way to Glacier Basin, when Bry decided to bag the idea and just head on up to Sunrise. So, we did an about-face and half a mile later were back at the fork to hike the 5 miles up to Sunrise. I pulled my hair back, made my pants into shorts and got all gangsta.
Every time I told myself “This sucks – I want to be at home cleaning out my tub – organizing my sh*t – watching makeup tutorials - eating Pirate’s Booty t”, I just had to take a step back, quite literally. Here I was, on this absolutely gorgeous trail with hardly any other people, taking in views of Rainier in all her majesty, eating trail mix and spending time with my favorite person in the world.
We reached the top of Sunrise and I was elated at the view, beautiful surroundings and the fact that the uphill portion of the day was DONE.
Although trekking up the mountain was behind us, it turns out the dangers were not. We approached a snow field and as we drew nearer, I was realized it was looking a little steep. Bry grabbed my hand and said, “I’ll go first and we’ll go nice and slow.” TWSS. Oh – and might I add that I was wearing flimsy cross-trainers from Fred Meyer? Balls.
As we crossed the sloping snow field, I looked down to my right and realized that one false step could result in sliding quite quickly down the embankment of snow into a pool of jagged rocks at the bottom. I surmised that falling down the mountain may not result in instant death, rather a most frightening fall. Reaching the other side safely, I realized what I had just done and decided it was a good time to cry a little. So I did…
We hiked a bit further, played the “last meal” game and wouldn’t you know it? Hit yet another snow field! This one was quite a bit longer than the first. We held hands, steadied ourselves again the snowy mountain and after a 2 minute sloooow trek, had reached the other side.
After our snow field excursions, my mood was quickly lifted at the sight of mountain goats. You heard me. There were mommas and babies and well, it was pretty cool.
It wasn’t long after the goats, that we had reached the visitors center! We sat at a picnic table, gobbled down our turkey + swiss sandwiches and Tim’s Cascade chips and then inquired inside as to the quickest way down.
We made our way back down the mile long road to get back to the trail head and then took the famous wonderland trail back to camp. Glancing at the map at the visitor’s center, it looked like a somewhat straight shot back down – we figured no more then a couple of miles. We learned it was about 3.5 after hitting a trail marker a good chunk into it, but obviously we were on our way DOWN so everything was peachy.
We reached camp around 3:30 pm and after changing out of our dirty clothes and applying some Pink Chiffon body spray (or was that just me?) we settled into our camp chairs with PBRs and sore legs. ‘Murica.
I read my Brides magazine and sipped a vodka + soda outta the Nalgene while Bryan set up our new tent from Targs. We really glamped it up this time by bringing along our air mattress.
As the sun fell slowly behind the mountains and the sound of the White River hummed peacefully in our ears, it made me blissfully aware of the reason why I do indeed enjoy putting myself through all this. The grueling accents uphill, the bugs, the snow fields, the unexpected. It is frustrating and annoying, yet also fun. I have to get in my obligatory 15 minutes or so of complaints, tell myself there is about a million other things I should be doing – but at the end of the day, I am always glad I did it.
We made our dinner of Hebrew Nationals and potato chips, polished off a couple more beers and satisfied our sweet teeths with Rainbow Chips Deluxe.
Then we hit the air (?) in our respective sleeping bags, mine the -30 degree mummy bag which kept me wonderfully cozy and helped coax me in to a deep, scrumptious slumber within seconds.
Sunday morning I woke up to Bry asking me if I wanted to go on a “nature walk”. I think he was trying to disguise the word “hike” as best he could. I gave me a “heeell to the nah” and promptly turned over for a 45 minute snooze while Bryan eked in his last moments in “neature”.
I emerged from the comfort of our tent at the promise of a steaming cup of VIA and after once glimpse in the car window, realized I literally looked like I belonged in the wilderness. Then we packed up and hit the road early, only stopping in Enumclaw for a Starbucks and restroom break.
After 2 quick showers, re-packing the cooler with MORE beer and a tub of Boursin – we ventured off to the marina to take out the Nash’s boat.
We picked up our chummies Kyle, Melissa and their little one in Kirkland and spent over 3 wonderful hours hanging on the boat, watching little M experience her first boat ride and catch up.
The day was absolutely gorgeous and Mt. Rainier was clear as crystal. I was battling a little fatigue after our 14-mile Saturday, but the great company and beautiful scenery made it just perfect.
After boating, we hit Chipotle (our new obsession) and went home to collapse after our busy weekend in the out-of-doors. I can’t believe how far I have come! Camping, hiking, being dirty – check, check, check!
Oh – and my biggest accomplishment, peeing outside but hold your applause, because coming up is sister Megan’s bachelorette party. You know you’re excited.
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