We stayed at an little RV park just about a mile from the national park entrance. We've stayed there a few times before. It's quiet and peaceful. The park is under new ownership, and they had us packed in a little like sardines...unnecessarily so, we thought, since there were empty spaces that would have allowed everyone a little more breathing room and privacy.
Here's what we saw looking the other direction. I love the tall trees this park has to offer.
There was a small but reliable wi-fi hot spot in the little building you see just beyond where those men are walking. Any pictures I posted while we were gone were from there. There was also a laundry and a nice public shower in the same building.
The public shower would have come in handy had we been more fastidious about our personal hygiene. We had a plumbing leak that required bypassing our water heater, meaning we had no hot water on this trip. My father, the consummate RVer even before RVs became very popular in America, had a saying: "Never let an RV problem ruin your day." It's very good advice, and we heed it regularly.
The camper is our third RV and each one has had its little bugaboos left over from the manufacturing process. For this camper, plumbing has that role. Fittings are either not tightened enough, or, like this one, tightened too much and broken. Mike tried a temporary fix with electrical tape, which only succeeded in turning a drip into a spurting disaster, and so we simply bypassed the water heater and lived with cold water. Oh well. Once we had resigned ourselves to a cold water trip, we took a little walk around the campground, and the pictures I posted earlier were the result.
Saturday morning we settled on the Upper Paradise Valley trail, thinking it was new to us. It starts with this little short leg called 4th Crossing. (I believe this refers to where the road crosses the Paradise River for the 4th time.)
It leads to a junction with the Skyline Trail, where one must decide to turn either left or right. We've made the left turn on a previous visit, but haven't yet gone right, and that was the plan. It started out nice enough with heather in bloom.
And here is the cascading Paradise River.
But we hadn't even reached the junction when we encountered a lot of snow.
Contrast the image above taken July 19, 2014, with the one below, taken on July 23, 2005.
This is approximately the same section of trail, and the difference is pretty amazing. We have no explanation for this since we've had quite a bit of warm weather this summer. Obviously, there was more snowfall over the winter.
Mike forged on ahead for a little ways to see if it continued the same way. While he was gone, I happened to glance up, and I saw this:
The sky was so blue, and it smelled so good...very piny and clean.
Mike returned with the bad news that the trail was impassable...at least for our old knees...and so we went back to the truck and drove the loop road from the Nisqualley entrance (where we came in) to the Stevens Canyon entrance. Despite not being able to hike the trails, the scenery was breath-taking, and we enjoyed our day.
We turned out at one of the parking lots. To the west, was the view in the image above. To the north was Mt. Rainier. It was obscured in clouds at this point, but they were sailing by so fast, we stood for a time hoping it would clear for a picture.
As quickly as one cloud blew by, another formed, and the view remained mostly obscured while we waited.
Our shadow selves made an appearance here. They were kind of short at this time of day.
Another five minutes or so passed,
and we finally gave up and drove on to the Reflection Lakes, where we could see the mountain unobscured.
Here, we took the requisite selfie.
It was so pretty here, and we were able to pick our way over the remaining snow drifts and walk along the lake shore part way.
Also, we got our best up-close views of the wildflowers. There weren't as many as we'd hoped to see since many were only just starting to bud. Still, there were some pretty ones. These reminded us of trilliums. While trilliums have three petals and three leaves on the plant, these had more. Otherwise, they're essentially the same flower. These are known as Avalanche Lily:
The orange Indian paintbrush were well represented, as well as the pink guys you see in the image below. I don't know many of these, and so if you do, then please chime in.
Another purple one I don't know:
I'm thinking these white ones below might be False Hellebore, not completely opened, but I'm not sure.
Here's a common thistle. I wasn't expecting to see these, but there you go.
These next ones are called Beargrass. They were about the size of a softball.
Big clusters of white flowers:
We saw the lake from different sides as we walked around, then headed back to the truck and drove on.
You know, we love our tunnels. This one was blasted out of solid rock.
Just beyond the tunnel we came to the half-mile Box Canyon Trail, and we got out and walked the short loop.
If you can't read the sign, it tells you that the trail crosses a deep river gorge and follows in a glacier's path. "Rock slabs have been 'polished' by sediment-rich water flowing beneath the glacier. . . Plant life has had a tough time getting a grip" on the smooth rock, although you can see lichens and mosses taking root. Here's a good example:
We crossed over this little bridge
where we could look into the deep river canyon. This picture doesn't capture the depth very well, and of course, hearing the rushing river was very dramatic.
Watch your step:
Would you believe we saw a mother holding her toddler standing on this wall for a picture? Mike joked, "And this is the last picture we have of Matilda."
From there we left the park and drove a forest road back to the RV park, and then just relaxed for the rest of the day. We were disappointed not to be able to do much hiking, but it was a nice weekend just the same.
And now, here we are at Monday again. Let's just pause here for a moment and consider that July is nearly 2/3 over and my list of goals is barely touched. Oh well. I knew it would be that way, and there is no use stressing over it. I have some housework to do, and I absolutely must get back to my exercise routine. The last couple of weeks have been quite a disruption, but they've been so much fun that it's hard to get too worked up about it. Still, I'm determined to get back on the horse today. Also, I'm hoping to get my doll quilt finished.
Tomorrow I'm doing the first of three observations of the Coffee Creek Quilters teaching quilting to the inmates at the Coffee Creek Correction Facility. The observations come first, and if I decide I want to continue, there will be quite a bit of training both by the volunteer organization, and the Oregon Department of Corrections. They want to be sure folks are serious about becoming volunteers before investing a lot of time and effort. Thus, the three observations.
I'm meeting one of the volunteers in Newberg, not far from where I live, and we'll ride there together. Some dress code rules: No blue denim, no light blue or lime green tops, no heavy jewelry, and no underwire bras. (What?!?!?) They set off the metal detectors and then you have to be patted down by a corrections officer. Hm. A sports bra will have to do.
Also, tonight is our guild meeting. Karla Alexander is tonight's speaker. Karla was with me when I made my trip to Ireland, so I'm looking forward to seeing her at the meeting. And with that, I guess I'll get on with it.
What's on your agenda for today?