I mentioned a bit ago that Dad and I were taking Benji backpacking. Long story short, it didn’t happen. The first week we planned to go, the forecast deteriorated rapidly and when the day came, it poured rain, with even more rain in the mountains where we’d planned to go. We postponed a week, to August 27 and 28. We obtained backpacks and got even more ready to go.

Then, several days before we were to leave, I started having the kind of gastrointestinal distress that you really don’t want to have on a hiking trip. Let’s just say I never wanted to venture far from a restroom, and I didn’t fancy using the bushes for that business. I hoped it would pass quickly (so to speak), but no such luck.

By Wednesday, we had to accept that a backpacking trip would not happen this season. We didn’t want to completely cancel the experience for Benji, though, so Dad suggested car camping. This brilliant compromise allowed us to all go, but with a safety net for me, and with a little less commitment than the whole hiking in business.

Thus, on Thursday morning we embarked in a very full Honda Accord just past the crack of dawn. Sedans aren’t the best for this type of trip, but of the three cars available between our two families, it was the only gasoline vehicle and thus the only one able to actually make the entire trip. After a few hours of driving and only a couple mishaps we arrived at Ohanapecosh.

This being a last-minute backup plan, we had no reservations. The campground was listed as full, but Dad had contacted a ranger who confirmed we might find a site if we arrived before 11 am. I’m not sure what that ranger was smoking, but in the first-come, first-served sites only one opened up on the day we arrived — and someone else had already nabbed it.

Fortunately, Dad and Benji had the idea to go talk to a ranger and see if any reserved sites had come available. Long story short, sure enough, two sites had opened up on the F loop! We rushed to our car and zoomed off, claiming one of those sites. Moments later, another group claimed the other site. Stiff competition!

Once we had a site, the trip really began. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

Ohanapecosh Camp Site, F Loop
Camp site set up.
Hike to Silver Falls
We hiked, not without some significant complaining, to Silver Falls, about 2.7 miles roundtrip.
Upstream Silver Falls
A classic mountain stream, rather low, since it’s late summer.
Silver Falls, Mt. Rainier
Silver Falls.

When we got back to the camp site, we had dinner, then headed out to take pictures of the sunset.

We unanimously agreed not to buy freeze-dried ice cream again.
A stop at Box Canyon to enjoy the view.
Reflection Lakes
Reflection Lakes at sunset – not real reflect-y, thanks to a breeze, but still lovely.
Inspiration Point, Mt. Rainier
Inspiration Point, our final stop to watch the end of the sunset.

We had to leave at noon the next day, but we made the most of our morning.

Camping Breakfast
Cold water takes so long to boil.
Ohanapecosh Hot Springs
I was a bit surprised to learn there was a hot springs right in our campground! The water felt like a warm bath, but smelled like rotten eggs.
Ohanapecosh River, Morning
We scoped out different camp sites for future visits and found a nice way down to play at the river.
I really wanted to visit the Grove of the Patriarchs before we left, so Benji and Dad humored me. It was a short but extremely crowded hike, but I have to say — those were some BIG trees.
Playing in Ohanapecosh River
After packing up our camp site, we went back to the day parking and played in the Ohanapecosh River a bit, tossing sticks in and throwing rocks at them.

At that point all that was left was to drive home and spend the rest of the evening cleaning everything up. Despite some significant periods of whining, overall we all agreed we had a great trip, and we look forward to camping more with Benji in the future.

Ohanapecosh - Bigger than mountain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.