. We unhooked Sooby and went wandering through Loop D, as the ranger had advised. There were a number of vacant sites, but most of them were quite uneven. I had no desire to get out the blocks to level us out. We finally found site D1 right at the entrance to the loop. Shorty fit without incident and with room to spare for the Soob’. We got settled in and had a late lunch.
After spending some time wandering through the campground to see what was available, we were content with our location. We read for a while and then Lynn suggested that I start dinner. I had volunteered to make Ratatouille, one of my few “signature” dishes. It’s an end-of-the-garden dish which substitutes potatoes for eggplant. I happened upon the recipe one day when I was home sick and happened to watch a cooking show. That was about twenty-five years ago. It still is a favorite of ours.
Dinner turned out great, I must say. It’s quiet here, in spite of the many campers. According to the Ranger, lots of folks wait until the kids return to school to get out and camp. Maybe that’s why it’s so quiet?
This morning we took off on the Wonderland Trail
. It’s a long trail which covers perhaps a hundred miles of the park. It starts just across the road from our site. It’s all uphill, for sure, but not so steep that we didn’t enjoy the views and the flora. Very few birds or other wildlife were around, however. We had intended to go as far as the next junction, but as we got to about two and a half miles, both of us got a bit weary. Wonderland? No. Trail? Yep. We turned around and headed back down to camp. Ironically, it’s only about 1.8 miles back down. Hmmm... I’ll blame the difference on the GPS. Of course, it did go a lot faster with gravity on our side.
After lunch, Lynnie drove us to the Sunshine Visitors Center, about twelve miles from our current homesite. It too was closed, except for a small snacker. There were lots of folks there, since it has one of the best and closest views of Mount Rainier. We got back to camp in time for me to take a nap. Dinner, later, was leftovers of some great meals from not to far back in the recent past.
It’s dark now and extremely quiet. Campfires are burning and folks are relaxing and probably talking about the great day. I do know that we had one!
Wednesday was an easy day. We got on the road towards Mount Rainier and saw unbelievable contrasts in the land. As we approached the mountain, which can be seen before one reaches Yakima, we could see how the industry and way of life changes. Soon the orchards disappeared and the access narrowed. The campgrounds in the south end of the park are closed due to highway construction. Highway 410 is open now, however, and in great repair. We were a bit leery about finding a campsite, what with the experiences we have had so far. The road up to Chinook Pass is circuitous and steep in sections, but Shorty took it all in stride. Before long we were at the turn-off for White River Campground in the Park itself. We pulled up to the check-in station in mid-road, but it was unoccupied. It seems that Labor Day is the cut-off for many things in the wilds. We stopped near Loop A and Lynnie read the sign about RVs. It seems that the maximum length is 27 feet. Shorty is 31 feet. She went for a short walk on the loop and happened upon a Ranger who told her that there were a few sites that would accommodate us