Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mt. Rainier!

In preparation for our trip to California we bought a National Park Pass. Last week Michael took Monday off and we did a dry run for our vacation. We packed the kids up for a day trip to Mount Rainier. We figured it would give us some good information on what we may need or how to do things differently. 

We spent the night at Ga-Ga & Pa's house since they live in Orting so we were already closer to the mountain. We didn't rush to leave the house so we left at 9am. 

Entering the park! 

First close up glimpse of mountain! 

Our first stop was The Grove of the's a great walk for small kids. No elevation, you follow a river, you cross the river on a cool bridge, you see big trees. Also it's only 1.4 miles so it's totally doable for little legs. Of course I did wear Zeke and Ella wanted to be worn by Daddy in the Kelty, but then once she got strapped in she started freaking out and was saying she was scared. She ended up walking the whole way and did just fine with only one fall! 

Of course we had to leave the trail so we could wander down to the riverbank. 

Throwing big rocks in the river and hearing the kerplunk is always a joy! 

We were sure how warm it would be since the mountain still has a ton of snow on it so we dressed the kids in pants. Oh my it was hot! Thankfully we brought shorts for them as well. 

Zeke was hilarious...instead of throwing the rocks in the big rushing stream he found this little puddle next to this log and was dropping them in there. 

The big kids crossing the bridge with Daddy!

Time for Mommy and Zeke to go! 

On the bridge! 

The river looks so peaceful! 

Inside a big tree that fell down before Michael and I were even born! 

This is the big tree at the end of the trail. 

After the Grove we set off for Paradise and stopped along the way to take more mountain pictures. 

Picture of the road we just drove up. 

I don't know how this...

doesn't convince people...

that there is a God! 

Of course pictures don't do the mountain a lick of justice. It's so breathtakingly beautiful! 

Once we got to Paradise we had to find parking. Of course the lot was was way busier than I thought it would be for a Monday. We ended up having to park on the side of the road halfway down the hill right after the parking lot. Once we got out all the kids were pretty much done, but we had come all this way so we toughed it out. We took the 1.2 mile trail called Nisqually Vista Loop. 

There was lots of complaining during this walk and lots of sitting down and resting. 

This little girl was especially overly emotional since this was her second day in a row with no nap. I swear I'm going to have to break her of her naps once she has to go to kindergarten. 

The boys did good considering they were tired too. 

I think Jack was the most content on this portion of the trip. He walked with me a lot and only complained right at the very end. 

Zeke Man was a happy camper! 

Oh's a wild bear!!! 

We meet a couple kids on the trail and they said to take the right trail so we did. It just looped back around so it really didn't matter at all. 

All the little meadows are so pretty. There weren't too many flowers, but still the scenery was so pretty! 

The mountain and the mouth of the Nisqually River. 

Again breathtaking! 

And exhausting! Of course Zeke held out on any sort of sleep until 2 minutes before we got back to Ga-Ga & Pa's house! 

Ella was so tired...thankfully her thumb helps her sleep and be quiet! 

So the things we learn are...always bring a map! We left our Mount Rainier map at home and the Atlas was on my craft desk at home. Not good when you are in a dead zone and can't bring up a map and you miss the turn for the park. Thankfully it was only a minor detour! Second thing we learned is the kids need blankets and I need a light coat. Michael runs hot and he was freezing us out! Third...Owen and Jack needed the backs off their booster seats. They are big enough and it makes sleeping in the car much easier. Fourth...Zeke and Jack needed their car seats switched around so Zeke would be more in the middle of the van and not get the sun on him thus resulting in us not hearing his squeal every time the sun touched him. Fifth....something I already knew, food and more food. On this short of a trip I brought enough food, but the kids like having control of their food and I didn't bring their snack containers. On our trip they will each have their very own and it will be filled with the snacks for the whole day and they can pick and choose what they want and when they want it. It was a successful family day of fun!