We wanted to give you a more detailed update on our current trip to Washington State. Guys, this place is MAGICAL! If it isn’t on your bucket list, you most definitely need to add it immediately. Tonight, since Mother Nature and the mountain straight whooped our butts, our update will be on just today’s adventures. We will write more on the entire trip over the course of the next few days.
Today, we got up early and were fortunate enough to awake to a sunny morning. Everything here is constantly wet from the constant rain, so it was quite marvelous to see the sun glistening against the Hemlock and Fir trees as the water dripped off them. We packed up and double layered and set our plan for driving as far as the road from the Nisqually entrance of the park would take us.
The drive up was breathtaking. We watch the trees change from green to white. Experienced the sight of Mount Rainier grow mightier and mightier as we climbed higher up the side of its vast presence. We definitely tried to capture all the views in our memory bank because these moments were most definitely, unforgettable.
Once we hit the end of the available road to drive during this season, we trekked back down the mountain and stopped at Narada Falls and then decided to stop off and sneak a peek at the roaring Christine Falls. The waterfall crashes down into what looks like a turquoise vortex that leads out down to Van Trump Creek (which is more like a rushing river.)
As we journeyed further back down we resolved to visit a part of Wonderland Trail (this trail wraps the entirety of Mount Rainier National Park which is 35 miles long). The trail was quite busy and we were quite excited to hear there was a black bear about 15 yards up the trail, but quickly disappointed to realize that the loud talking of the other visitors was keeping the wildlife away. Thereafter, we opted to take our own route. We did this in Central America quite a bit, so what’s the harm?
WRONG! The terrain was covered in snow. Once you divert off the trail, there is no specific solid land. What looks like solid snow, is quite often just a snow bank that you sink waist deep into as soon as you try and cross. We learned this the hard way. While trying to make our way back to the trail, we fell multiple times! Getting stuck in the snow, slipping down wet embankments and stepping knee deep into swamp water from the rivers. Absolutely frigid cold by the way.
Shortly after this impromptu photoshoot, we fell down and essentially tumbled down the creek, haha! Our hands started to freeze, because stupidly we did not put our gloves on, as we tried to grasp at soft snow every time we got stuck up to our stomachs. It was quite the adventure. And exhausting! We had to take a short break on the side of the paved trail once we finally reached it as other visitors passed us with perplexed faces as to why we were soaking wet, covered in dirt and snow, and sweating all at the same time.
But often the sights off the beaten path are the most sacred and serene. They’re untouched by man and less trafficked. We really like to explore in complete solitariness. So although the moutain whooped our butts on the first half of our day, after a return back to our adorable cabin to change into dry clothes and catch our breath, we did venture back out for the afternoon to find out what else Ashford, WA had to offer.
We drove down the main road between Elbe and Ashford, State Route 706 and turned down random roads to see what we could stumble upon. And we really found some hidden gems. Thankfully our rental Kia Optima was able to endure the rough off-roading and potholes to get us there.
It was pure magic. Untouched by man, aside from a small memorial high up on the mountain alongside the river dedicated to somebody named Blair who passed in 2008. Although eery given its location, it was sobering. A reminder that while these astonishing forests and rivers can take your breathe away, they can do so in more than one way. And to always proceed with caution. (Even when you’re more on the reckless and hasty side like Loren and I are).
Today’s expeditions were a harsh reminder of that. Well that, and the fact that we really are Southern California natives and our bodies are just not acclimated to the varying temperatures Washington has.
We will leave it at this for now as we are physically exhausted from trying to dig ourselves out of snow banks and swim out of mucky frigid cold creeks. We will update more and most definitely provide a gallery of all the millions of photos we’ve taken over the course of our journey here in beautiful Ashford and Mount Rainier in Washington.
Goodnight my sweet spirits,
xoxo Ashley AND Loren