We have been having a terrible cool summer. Some people love it and others are getting grumpy wanting heat. Traditionally the last two weeks in July are always sunny and hot. Chance of rain is really low so I asked for a Monday off last month and we planned on camping. We decided to increase our chances of heat and decided to go to the eastern side of the Cascades. We had not been in the Naches area between Mt. Rainier and Yakima in many years and there are lots of forest service camp grounds.
We left about 10am after G had finished watering. The road goes through Mt. Rainier where the tourists were jocking for views of the mountain. We continued on to Chinook Pass. This is where one of our favorite hikes is located – Naches Trail. The Ranger report said you needed an ice axe for the trail. We pulled over to the vista and the trail is definitely covered still in several feet of snow. So was Tipsoo lake.
We continued on. Pleasant Valley and Hells Crossing campgrounds were recommended. They are just a couple of miles apart. We pulled in and did a drive through on both before deciding on Pleasant Valley. We loved the open meadow besides the American River. We thought it would be perfect for relaxing. Everyone else was leaving since it was Sunday so we had our choice of the spots. We choose a site near but not right next to the meadow. We noticed that there were some ants in the camp and discovered a large ant hill between the site and the river. But we decided we could share it with them and they never bothered us. We set up camp, relaxed a bit and ate our lunch. The mosquitoes were out but a couple of Off wipes took care of them.
After lunch, we headed to check out Boulder Cave. We drove in and the parking lot was packed with cars parking on the side. The ranger checked our America the Beautiful Pass and wrote down our number. We circled the lot once and scored a parking place. The trail was packed with families including one or two pushing strollers on the trail. The actual cave was pretty short.
One the way back to the parking lot, we heard many sirens. It was kinda spooky just after the shooting in Norway. On our drive back to the camp, we detoured and drove up the Rimrock Lake Road. There were several aid cars coming out of Camp Fife. A bit further, we came across motorcycle accident and turned around not really wanting to see it.
Back at the camp, we relaxed a while and made dinner. I brought along pesto pasta and watermelon feta salad. We built a fire and I took a walk out along the river. It was warm so we decided to leave off the rain fly – mistake. I woke up about 2am and noticed the stars were no longer out. At 3am – it started to drizzle. I woke up G, pulled the rain fly on and went back to sleep to thunder. It was still drizzling when we woke up. We hung out for a while and then moved over to the picnic shelter to make a fire and have breakfast.
Meadow at the camp