After spending the day in Seattle, we set our sights on Mount Rainier National Park — about a two hour road trip. We arrived late, city lights out of sight, and set up camp at Cougar Rock. I secured a solid plan in my head for the next day and it went…
(D.M.C. voice) a lo something like this:
Wake up in the park. Light stretches. Baby yawns. Sleeping bag roll-up races.
Make oatmeal and coffee. Embrace the surrounding nature and all of its glory. Be paralyzed by the awe of it all.
Feed Kres oatmeal. Laugh while clinking our coffee mugs together, cheers-ing to this wonderful life. Eskimo kiss, probably.
Brush teeth. Get ready.
Hike around and get as close to Mount Rainier as possible. Eat snow off the peak. Wave that selfie stick in the air. Frolic in the wildflowers.
We woke up to rain, which was fine. We’d done it before. The GoPro is waterproof.
Our rain gear has rain gear.
Still, I’m almost certain we didn’t clink our coffee mugs or even make coffee this morning. I won the sleeping bag race, no questions asked — speak to my agent.
We made our trek up the Paradise Valley Road (beautiful and scenic as heck) where it quickly became UNREASONABLY foggy. The higher we ascended, the more the fog carried.
In other words, we couldn’t see shit.
No big deal, right? It’s Bop, after all. We’re mid-road trip with no end in sight; there’s no plane to catch, no place to be but wherever we want.
Trying again tomorrow is the ultimate luxury — and one we planned for. So we did just that.
For dinner, we settled on a gas station dinner from some little nowhere town southwest of the park, then went back to our same camping spot and slept through the rain.2
We woke up the next day extra eager to hike. The sun was shining, only light fog.
What could go wrong? Well…
“ALL ROADS LEADING TO ANYWHERE COOL ARE CLOSED SO GOOD LUCK HIKING WITHOUT A WEEK’S WORTH OF BACKPACKING PROVISIONS. PROBABLY GONNA HAVE TO COME BACK WHEN MORE SHIT IS OPEN SORRY. LOVE, MOUNT RAINier.”
I looked at Chris, he looked at me, we telepathically discussed the idea of moving the giant roadblock out the way to reach the heights for which we so desperately longed.
But alas, it was too early in our road trip for a trespassing charge and a National Park ban.
In the end, we couldn’t hike the trails we’d wanted.
Couldn’t check out the Cedar Creek Tree house.
Couldn’t take the scenic drives we’d perfectly planned.
We knew there would be stress and setbacks.3
We knew most of the parks we planned to visit were in their “off-season”.
We knew there’d be disappointment. We just didn’t plan on it.
Despite the soul-crushing misery that comes with missing out on one of our country’s most glorious stratovolcanoes by ONE4 day and not knowing when we’d have the opportunity to go back, Mount Rainier still managed to leave us with a lasting impression.5