Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our Latest Trip--Part II

On the third morning of our trip, we woke up, ate breakfast, and hit the water park at Great Wolf Lodge as soon as it opened (9am). I am very proud of the girls--we told them we only had one hour to play and gave them a count-down throughout the hour. When it was time to leave, they weren't ecstatic, but there were no tears, no fits, no "can't we stay a little bit longer?!?". They did really well. Earlier that morning, we had packed up everything and laid out each person's dry clothes, so when we got out of the water, we went back to our room, changed, ran the swimsuits through that cool suit spinner and checked out.

It was then and only then that we made a final decision on what route we would take on our way home. We had two options: drive north, through Seattle, the way we had come; OR, drive east, through Mt. Rainier National Park. SOMEONE in the family (who may be experiencing pregnancy induced compulsiveness and irrationality along with a good dose of addiction to those National Parks Passport stamps) managed to make a good argument that the route through Mt. Rainier wouldn't really add all that much time. Hey, those years of high school debate weren't for nothing! In my defense, given our history (check out the "Trip That Started It All" link on the left-hand side when you have some time to read), Josh really should've known that my time estimates would be off.

So we headed east. We had rented movies for the girls to watch in the car and needed to return those, so we pulled into the parking lot of a well-known store. Notice anything weird about the picture? Here, maybe if I zoom in a bit for you: Ick, ick, ick, ick, ick! That's a BIG rat. And the bad thing is that it was fresh...we had just walked inside (no rat) and then came out to find it. A few employees came and stood around it and pointed and laughed and walked away again. I can only hope they went to get supplies to dispose of said rat, but we didn't leave immediately and they didn't come back out, so I'm not so sure.

We were eventually back on the road again...we ate McD's in the car for lunch so I know it was around noon. We were still roughly 600 miles (10 hours or so, for those keeping track, and we obviously weren't) from home.

We arrived at Mt. Rainier National Park sometime around 1 or 2 I was surprised how densely forested it was at the lower elevations. For a while, we were worried you never even got a good view of Mt. Rainier. If you open the windows, it's like being completely enveloped in a Christmas Tree. This was also the first time I came to a little personal realization that mountains make me feel closed in while forests don't. I think in my mind, I just assume I'm free to walk indefinitely in a certain direction if there is forest, whereas seeing a giant mountain in my path lets me know for sure I will not be easily walking anywhere. Here's a picture from the bridge that crosses over the Nisqually glacier drainage The same area from a little ways up the road (if you look closely, you can see the bridge the previous picture was taken from) We really lucked out, and the clouds cleared as soon as we got to the Paradise Visitor's Center, so we got great views of Mt. Rainier The girls enjoyed looking through the binoculars available in the visitor's center and we even spotted some climbers on their way up! This is the area the climbers are on. They would've left that morning and been on their way to Camp Muir for a rest before heading for the summit. Here is a close up shot of the climbers (all those little dots up there)And an even closer shotAfter getting a passport stamp and buying some postcards, we got back on the road and headed towards the Ohanapecosh Visitor's Center. This one was great for the kids. They had a lot of hands on things for them to explore. When we got back in the car, it was dinner time...sometime around 5pm. Again, if you're keeping score (and this was the first time we vaguely paid attention), we were still just over 500 miles (8 hours) from home. This was when we realized our estimated arrival time was somewhere around 1am. Only, we'd also cross a time zone, so it'd really be 2am. And Josh had to work the next day. Uh oh. By the time we finally got cell phone service again, we were already tired and still west of Spokane (4 hours from home), so we called the people who were dog-sitting and asked if they could tack on one more morning of dog care. With that taken care of, we pulled into Coeur D'Alene, Idaho expecting to get a hotel room no problem. We found a room pretty easily, but it was the last one left and we paid way too much for it. We also expected we'd be up early and on the road to get Josh to work by noon, but the girls actually slept in a whole hour, so we still got a late start. Next time, we definitely need to plan better and we won't be attempting to fit so many miles and activities into so few days in the future!!


Heather and The Kyles said...

I love the pic of Sierra looking out the window with the binoculars. So jealous of all your travels!! Simply beautiful!

Big Fat Gini said...

I'm jealous too! It's just really cool and I know the girls are going to have tons of fun memories growing up!

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