Camping Fail at Mount Rainier National Park: My Son Will Tell His Grandkids About This

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Camping Fail Rainier Pin

We’d traveled along the National Park to Park Highway for nearly 7,000 miles, camping all the way. We thought we knew what we were doing, but what happened when we got to Mount Rainier? Camping Fail.

Memorable Mount Rainier

We’ve seen wild animals, unique habitats, beautiful sunsets and vibrant forests throughout our National Park to Park Highway tour. I’ve had my favorites and my not so favorites, but every National Park we’ve visited promised to be memorable.

I know that. Mountain Dad felt that way too. But I didn’t realize Big E felt the same way until a camping fail at Mount Rainier National Park.

Camping Fail

In Mount Rainier National Park several forces combined against us. First the weather. Sure we expected some rain or cold sometime on our National Park to Park Highway trip, but to have freezing temperatures, rain and wind all at once seemed like an unnecessary blow. The temperature dipped into the forties and even wearing every warm piece of clothing we owned, I felt cold.

Forcing my kids to hike with their stocking caps, gloves, sweatshirts and rain jackets was a major coercive effort. I should’ve brought warmer clothes. Camping fail.

Second, there were the animals. In the woods around our campsite Mountain Dad heard creaking, shuffling, and grunting. Something big lingered nearby. Could it be a moose? Elk? Or maybe something much more dangerous. Was it a bear? While the kids and I huddled in the Ultimate Adventure Vehicle, Mountain Dad investigated the strange sound. Scared kids, scared mom. Camping fail.

We finally determined it was an elk, luckily one that didn’t seem interested in us.

Another animal encounter at the White River Campground involved Big E, Little G and a stump. In true kid fashion they set about to destroy it. Little did they know that a hive of wasps lived there, wasps that didn’t like their home being pummeled repeatedly by a shovel.

Out flew the wasps. Away ran the kids, but not without casualties. Camping fail.

Finally while driving from sunrise visitors center to our campsite, Big E was happily talking and laughing. Then all of the sudden he threw up! Vomit on the carseat, on his clothes, in the car. He never complained about an upset stomach and even right afterward was laughing and talking away. Camping fail.

The first words out of his mouth after the puking were, “Whoa! I’m going to tell my grandkids about this.”

Memory Makers

I’m not sure which memorable part of Mount Rainier he’ll tell his grandkids. The puking, the wasps, the freezing in the middle of summer, were all top on my list of negatives. Although those are things worth mentioning to posterity, I also hope he includes some of the positives from Mount Rainier as well.

The views of the mountain were stunning. The wildflowers along the trail inspiring. The family time fun and enjoyable, even with the puking, wasps and rain.

And that’s how every adventure in the outdoors goes. A little joy mixed in with a lot of aggravation. I can’t control the weather or when my kids get sick, but I can control my attitude about it. What I can do is savor the beauty in the outdoors and ignore the cold as best I can. I can cut a hike short or skip it altogether depending on what works that day. If needed I could spend all day in my sleeping bag, if the kids would let me.

Our Mount Rainier National Park to Park Highway stop was similar to every family adventure outdoors. And maybe it will be something to tell my grandkids about.

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

1 thought on “Camping Fail at Mount Rainier National Park: My Son Will Tell His Grandkids About This”

  1. Great report. I think Big E has heard puking in the car stories when Mountain Mom traveled across the plains (in a car) with her little brother. That story is a family legend and has been told to the grand children. Big E and Mountain Mom now have one of their own. Time helps turn adversity into humor.

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