Since the weather seemed to have cleared up for a few days we decide to head to Mt Rainier after Seattle. We entered through the southwest entrance and drove through the park to the southeast corner where we’d camp. The drive was stunning it was a beautiful clear day, unfortunately there are no pictures because someone (me) deleted all their pictures (sigh, I wasn’t getting along with technology that day). Anyway take my word for Mt Rainier is stunning. We camped at one of two open campsites, Ohanapecosh. You see we were there on a Monday and the ‘season’ didn’t get going until the following Saturday. Our campsite was right next to a trail head though so we were happy, after a brief chat with a ranger we were recommended some trails but we didn’t really like those options so we went rogue and tackled the Three Lakes. This was 14 mile hike with 2700 feet of elevation gain. The thing we didn’t realize is that they don’t blaze the trails in the park – you just follow the trail. This seemed weird to us but it seemed to work at the forks there was a sign.
And so we climbed through beautiful lush forest with wildflowers popping through (and a few downed trees to keep things interesting) but then we hit the snow line. The trail was just gone and I know what you’re thinking “how hard could it be to just carrying on?” Answer – hard. We wandered around and around until I finally fell through a snow pack and landed in some fast moving water below, this is when it occurred to us that this wandering might not be safest thing so we found a log and had a snow covered/anti climatic/ not quite summited/this is why the ranger said no, picnic lunch. Eventually I got cold so we headed back to camp where Dan worked some BBQ magic and we had our first fire of the trip (campfire that is).
Next stop was Leavenworth, WA, we decided to stay here a couple of nights since some bad weather moved into Rainier and this was the closest place to stay near the Rally we were going to attend. Leavenworth did not disappoint. It is a Bavarian themed town, this was decided in the 1960’s by about 200 residents who took it upon themselves to ‘shake’ things up to bring tourist and their dollars to town. What is there today is a quintessential alpine town complete with the Bavarian dress in the tourism centre and German on the signs. We loved it! We stayed in a cute RV park walking distance to town and also did an amazing hike in the Enchantments in the Cascade Mountains to Colchuck Lake. A bit like Lake Louise in Alberta without the hoards of tourists, pure awesomeness.
Then off to the Northwest Overland Rally in Plain, WA (poor Dan kept looking for a sign that said Plane). We heard about this through Desk to Glory this is a blog I’d been actively following the last few months and when they mentioned they would be there and we realized it would fit into our schedule it seemed too good to pass up. All I can say is – what an experience!
We met so many lovely people. Some planning similar or bigger trips than ours, some who’ve done something similar to ours and those who have bigger plans. The Rally was 2 days of seminars and hands on learning sessions. We took in everything we could. A highlight was driving brand new Range Rovers over the technical course, no stress at all, not my $120 000 car (and not the instructors either so thank you Range Rover!). Each night (and there were three) everyone gathered around the campfire and tones of prizes were raffle off. Steve for Mountain Khakis was an awesome host/slash number drawer, he really kept the crowd going. Sadly Dan and I managed to win nothing but c’est le vie we came away with so much.