Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mount Rainier Camping 2012

 The temps in Portland were expected to be in the 100's and we had an invitation to camp at Mt. Rainer with our friends.  I was 34 weeks pregnant but still ready to camp at one of my favorite places on earth!

We got to Cougar Rock Campground in the evening, and joined our friends, Mike and Janelle and their family.  It was a beautiful, warm evening in the park.

The next day we took a hike on part of the Wonderland Trail that heads down to Box Canyon.  We enjoyed some waterfalls and forest along the way.

The mountain wildflowers were great and we were able to learn more about their pollinating at the Junior Ranger program in the evening.

We cooled off at a waterfall and enjoyed some wonderful views of Mt. Rainier along the way.

After our hike, we headed to Paradise to enjoy more flowers and mountain views from there.  In the evening, the kids really liked the Junior Ranger program.

The next day, we took a walk down to Longmire and returned by shuttle.  Then on the way out of the park we found a fantastic swimming hole on the Ohanapicosh River.

What a wonderful time with friends, wilderness, refreshing mountain streams and rivers, and beautiful mountains and wildflowers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Canyon Creek Meadows High Country

 I was craving high country so we headed out to a high meadow hike near Three Finger Jack.

We started up the trail with grand views through burned forests and found a nice lunch spot near a small lake. 

The wildflowers were spectacular and kept getting more beautiful as we neared the meadow.

The view of Three Finger Jack in the distance was grand.

We all enjoyed taking in the beautiful meadow in this high country.  

The air felt thinner and fresher and I felt very alive.  Unfortunately, I also had a somewhat whiney four year old to help motivate.

We continued to enjoy the meadow and then headed back down to meet the main trail.

I enjoyed all the paintbrush.  One of my favorite mountain flowers.

The stream was cloudy and glacier fed.

On the way down, we found a tree that looked pregnant and compared it to my belly.

We enjoyed a stunning view of Mt. Jefferson.

On the drive home we got to see a coyote cross the road.  What an amazing day in the high country!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hand Lake backpacking at 32 weeks pregnant

 We set out on another very long drive to McKenzie Pass on a Friday afternoon.  We had not had the chance to go backpacking yet this summer since the first attempt ended with rustic car camping.  I was 32 weeks pregnant and feeling great.

We found the trailhead  and started the easy trek to Hand Lake shelter.  The bugs were out and some folks hiking back toward the trailhead said they were especially fierce at the shelter.

We got to the three sided shelter and the little lake view.  We covered ourselves in bug spray, put on as many clothes as possible, cooked some dinner and hung a bear bag.  You have never seen a four year old so eager to go to bed to get even more covered from bugs.  The two adults were quickly in sleeping bags as well to avoid being eaten alive at dusk!  Fortunately the bugs went to sleep as it cooled off.

Though Sarah was my mule, I was proud of myself for sleeping on the ground in my third trimester of pregnancy and actually had a pretty nice night in the shelter.  I got up early and got a fire and breakfast going.

After breakfast, we headed out for a day hike.  It was a gentle stroll around the lake and we enjoyed some mountain views as well as some fascinating terrain.

There was an old wagon road carved through the volcanic rock.  It was fun to see a bit more central/ eastern Oregon landscape.

We saw a family of ducks swimming in hand lake and arrived back at the shelter late morning, just as the bugs were waking up.  We decided to grab our food bag and hit the trail back to our car.  We had some other stops in the area to visit beautiful, hopefully less bugfull, waterfalls.  I proudly carried the backpack the half mile back to the car, feeling like a real pregnant backpacker!

We drove to two waterfalls- Sahalie and Kooska falls.  We parked at Kooska Falls and hiked the mile between the two falls.  Kooska Falls had an awesome rainbow in it.  The creek was amazingly blue, green, and raging.

It was wonderful to hike along such clear amazing water- a great day of hiking and a long drive back. No more backpacking until next summer.  We will stick to car camping with an air mattress and tent.  There will be a few weeks more adventures to come before this baby is born.