Tree Huggers are often accused of loving nature more than they do people, but all you have to do to dispel that stereotype is spend a week at a campground in a National Park. More time is spent sitting around a campfire visiting with family than is spent hiking, no matter how beautiful the scenery.
Leslie and I spent last week with Dawn and her family at the Ohanapecosh Campground in Mt. Rainier National Park. We definitely did our share of hiking, though the young people were a little more adventurous than Leslie and I. Even the prospect of getting some great shots of Silver Falls couldn’t convince me to scale down the river bank and join Lael, Gavin and Rich in cooling down by the river.
Much of the time back in camp was spent playing various card games, but I was too busy playing to get a picture of them.
One day Rich and I walked to the Grove of the Patriarchs alone because the rest of the crew decided they wanted a day off from hiking. It turned out to be a great hike, one I’ll be taking guests to in the future. The grove reminded me of sites in Northern California’s Redwood forests. I’ll have to admit I’m still not fond of suspension bridges that sway back and forth as you cross them, but it was a great place to get a shot of Rich.
When we got back to camp we found Leslie
happily reading their books, though Dawn was actually desperate enough to read one of my poetry books. Despite good intentions, all I managed to read the whole week was a few chapters in Eiseley’s The Immense Journey.
Though I still prefer backpacking to car camping, it was a very good week, one I’m likely to remember for a long time. Looking back over my life, backpacks with the kids definitely have been highlights in my life, perhaps surprising since they never last more than a few days. There’s something about freeing yourself from daily cares and focusing on family that stays with you.