At the last minute our friends found a highly coveted spot at the Ohanapecosh Campground in the Mt. Rainier National Park (which to our celebration was someone else's cancellation). Tyler and Steve were chatting on the bus the day before their departure, so we got lucky and were able to tag along with them! They packed amazing food - chorizo and eggs and tortillas for breakfast - and Tyler and Steve packed their fly fishing poles. For some reason I did not pack us to sleep near snow and glaciers so we were a bit under packed, still it was one of the best camping trips we have taken to date! I found some freshly cut cherry wood - that was hard to light and had us worried, until it finally caught fire and burned long and hot! - and we packed two huge bags of it. The girls slept the entire ride down which left Tyler and I free to talk and listen and laugh together. After arriving after dark, Tyler put all his skills to work setting up our tent.
This specific campground is the start and finish points for multiple hikes of all skill levels, and of course, everywhere you look is breathtaking. We mostly laid low, sitting by the campfire eating s'mores, doing short hikes, stuffing ourselves with delicious camp food, and exploring the raging river that runs through the campground. Annie peed her pants while taking a nap in the car on the way to Paradise, so in our lack of preparation she was left with a swimsuit to wear - which she loved every minute of, as did the people standing by taking pictures of her playing in glacier water (I still don't know what to say to those people; sometimes I just stand in front of them...) Tyler only packed one shirt and of course Kate's poopy diaper leaked on it so he ended up in one of my extras (which makes him look like macho man in one of the photos).
While the swimsuits were strategically packed so we could enjoy the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs, we later learned they "aren't the swimming kind" per the lady at the Visitor's Center. With a laugh we walked the 20 minute, and .01 mile, hike through the hot springs - that were more like trickles of water running down the side of the rock. Tyler and Steve took out their fly fishing poles one evening, and their only excuse for not catching any fish is: this river doesn't have many. Oh, and the ones it does house are really small. (Insert laughing emoji here.)
Hiking with these two littles is kinda hilarious. While Annie runs ahead saying, "Mom, mom, run! Mom, run! Running! Mom, run! Dis like Annie!" Kate waddles behind swinging her arms across her whole body while her bum dramatically moves back and forth. And to top it all off says, "I too heavy. I too heavy." When she is done, she turns around and walks the other direction, despite all of our hollering for her to come back. She sneakily stares us down and when we continue forward she starts all over: running, swinging arms, waddling bum, "I too heavy. I too heavy" and we can't do anything but crack up and playfully roll our eyes. I don't know how Kate sees every single teeny tiny bug on our path but she screams, "Bicho!" ("bug" in Spanish) and wants to stop, squat, stare, then says, "I touching? I touching?" asking if she can touch it. She squeals and squeals while it scampers for its life.
Right now Annie is a creative dancer. She was swinging her shirt all around while kicking her feet up sideways and dancing to the banjo music in the campground. Lately while walking she raises her hands up in the air and I feel a rush of this-is-my-daughter-and-she-will-be-whoever-she-wants-to-be. The most important thing I need her to know if life is that I love her. A close second to that is my desire to infuse confidence into her - I wish I could fill her with so much confidence that she would not notice when others aren't being kind, and that she would have the ability to love them, and more importantly love herself, regardless of their insecurities and treatment of the world.
This weekend was a much needed break from all of lifes' demands, and we took full advantage of our time together. The last two photos are of: 1. the view from the sunroof on the way home. We were racing past thick, white clouds as well as views of Mt. Rainier I didn't even know existed from the road. And, 2. Annie and Kate had to take 2 baths when we came home they were so filthy.
Thank you to Steve, Karen, and William for the getaway (and getting some photos of me with my babes!)