Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Final CAMP of Summer 2010

A smaller number of families joined us this time, but there were still many new experiences and a lot of fun had by all. The fewer number of people allowed for a closer-knit group and the kids had a blast playing together since it was all boys around the age of 10. We started the first day off with a hike around the Trail of Shadows; a nice hike that introduces the families to the history and ecology of the park. Then it was back to the campsite at Cougar Rock Campground for snacks and rest time. A highlight of each of the CAMP programs is the campfire and the first night didn’t disappoint. The rangers led several funny and interactive songs and stories that ensure each person gets to show off their silly side. Then it was off to bed to be well rested for trip to Paradise on the following day.

The next day the sun was out and the temperature was just right. Each of the three families came along on the Nisqually Vista Trail that was awash in beautiful wildflowers and dramatic views of Mount Rainier. After eating our lunch and spending time in the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, we piled into the two vans and headed to Box Canyon. The road up to Box Canyon named Stevens Canyon Road can provide its own thrill to the faint of heart due to the jaw-dropping cliffs on the edge of the road. At Box Canyon, a loop trail allowed us to see both sides of the canyon; the view from the bridge of the river running through the canyon is always impressive. It was getting to be four soon thus it was time to return to the campsite to have snacks and let people rest.

Once it became dark it was time for another campfire and we had a nice surprise that night. The nice surprise was by Ray Morris who came last year as well with his grandson. He entertained us by playing two songs on his harmonica. It was such a nice treat to hear him play. The night finished up with a retelling by Ranger Jim Ross of the story of the first recorded summit of Mount Rainier by P.B Van Trump and Hazard Stevens. The end of this camp was bittersweet since it was the last one this summer, but I am blessed with so many good memories and new friends.

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