Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Home Sweet Tent: Mt Rainier National Park

Last weekend, I went camping for the very first time in about 15 years. My last "camping" trip in Colorado was more debauchery than communing with nature - I remember trying to start a campfire in the rain with a phonebook, drinking a lot of vodka, melting off the soles of my shoes, and sleeping in the back of a friend's car. This trip was more authentic -- 11 of us setting out on a real car camping adventure with bundles of wood, tents, sleeping bags, s'mores, hiking boots, and various gadgets and tools.

We spent 2 nights at the White River Campground in Mt Rainier National Park, and this was my first excursion out of the immediate Seattle area in the 9 months that I've lived here. Flushing toilets but no showers. Sleeping to the sound of the river. Roasting your legs in front of a campfire while the rest of you is ice cold. Drinking beer out of a can (well, not me but other people). Pure joy.

My favorite part of the trip was the hike from our campground up to Sunrise Point. It took 3 hours total (2 hours up and 1 hour down), and we had an elevation of 2000 ft. This was one of the most strenuous hikes I've done so far, and I felt like a rockstar when I reached the top. But the best part of the hike was seeing this view.

The other best part of the trip? Burning the pair of purple women's underwear that I found balled up in the corner of my tent in the Camp Opening Ceremony. Thanks, REI....you might want to check your rentals a little more closely next time.

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