June 30 – July 4th, Saturday – Wednesday: Mounthaven Resort, Ashford, Washington. On Saturday we arrived at Mounthaven Resort in Ashford, Washington, near the southern entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. Sunday we joined a traffic jam of cars entering the park, but once past the entrance gate traffic spread out while navigating the eighteen miles of winding, twisting roadway up to Paradise and the Henry M Jackson Visitor Center. Mount Rainier’s peaks are 14,410 feet high. The Henry M Jackson Visitor Center elevation is 5,400 feet. There was lots of snow drifts around with children lobbing snowballs and sliding on their bums. I downed a jacket over my sweatshirt as the air was definitely chilly. The views were fantastic, although the peaks were sometimes covered with clouds.
On the way there and back we stopped at several pull-offs, waterfalls and at the Historic Longmire District. We looked around the museum then took a one mile loop walk under massive fir and cedar trees. The loop circles a mineral spring area that was once a homestead and mountain resort. One of the park rangers had suggested a two mile hike from Cougar Rock Campground but we decided to save it for another day. ( A day’s work for these hikers!)
Mondays weather forecast was for clouds and rain so we postponed our hike and visited Northwest Trek Wildlife Park instead. There we rode a tram through a free roaming area, spotting caribou, bison, elk, and big mountain sheep. Sure missed our grandchildren as the tram was full of families with young children. The park had more animals housed in a walk through zoo; bears, foxes and other animals of the northwest. We treated ourselves to a lunch in town. I over did with a huge chocolate malted milk. Gotta do it sometimes, right?
So five nights, our longest campground stay flew by – much like the one week vacations we used to take when that was all work allowed. We spent the 4th of July, at home in camp, being very quiet, perhaps a bit wistful as we missed our family celebrations back in Michigan. The combination of grey skies and the deep shade of our campsite made a gloomy contrast to my favorite sun soaked East Tawas Beach 4th of July memories. We will be so happy to reunite with family and GRAND CHILDREN!!! upon our return.
John left a some rocks here at the resort and at the animal park. It was nice to hear from a couple that found one of his rocks in Oregon, coincidentally taking a long trip in the northwest leaving their Florida home in May, like we did. Wishing everyone a Happy Fourth of July and thank you for following along on our journey. Even though there is homesickness for our families we are savoring the luxury of being able to travel together and see our wonderful USA.
Tomorrow we head to Olympic National Park, stopping at the post office here first, with hopes that John’s new phone will be there. So much for over night delivery! Didn’t happen…..