Another 9 hour drive towards Mt. Rainer NP. We passed the signed for Camas, where B’s friend lives but they were on a international vacation and not around. We were crushed to be so close yet so far away.
We had to spilt up from Grandma and Grandpa for our accommodations. We couldn’t get a sight for all three nights where they were so we were going to stay in the park itself but the webpage listed low branches and tight turns. We found a place called Gateway inn. It was small and quite and you can see the park entrance from the campsite. We didn’t fee like having to move the coach so just opted to stay all three nights there. Something when pop when the slide in the kitchen went out and it got out of alignment. Dad was able to get the right tools and take care of it by the time we departed. Thank goodness he is very handy. Problems will and do occur when you travel in a motorhome and knowing how to tackle and fix them is a huge advantage!
We set up camp and raced in to the visitors center before they closed. The boys got their ranger books and maps and set to work. We enjoyed a short hike and then a scenic drive around the park with Dad.
We even saw a black bear down in the meadow! He is the center of the photo. We try to get Dad into the parks as much as we can around his work schedule. Since he works eastern time we have evening and late afternoons to explore with him.
We set off on our own in the morning to do a few guided hikes. We learned about the geography and geology of the park. We learned about the glaciers at the peak and some information on our changing climate. We hiked quite a few trails and took in the fresh air. We saw huge trees and gigantic plants.
The views of Mt. Rainer were spectacular. We saw a huge waterfall. The boys ran down he entire trail to get to the bottom and then ran back up. Mom was left behind at her own pace on the steep hills.
We saw another black bear in the meadow too!
The wildflowers were so amazing. The colors just popped out amongst the green meadows.
The boys hiked up a trail through the meadow when Mom went to grab lunch from the car.
We did another hike and learned from a Ranger about the timeline of the park. We saw deer and marmot. The boys earned their Jr Ranger badges and patches. The Junior Ranger program was fun and the boys were able to help the younger kids with some games.
We took a day off the park and headed to the Manhattan Project B Reactor where they made the plutonium in the 1940s. It was really impressive to see the plant, now decommissioned, in the state when it was shut down. Apparently, we have enough plutonium for a while and we really don’t use it for anything. We got to learn bout the production of the plutonium and how the plant was constructed. We toured the entire facility and saw the valve pit and control room. We worked on our very difficult Junior Ranger books and completed them just in time. We earned our badges back at the visitors center. We each bought a souvenir set of boron balls that would be used in shutting down the process if there was an emergency. The balls we got were NOT used in the reactor! What a near experience to see such a piece of our history.
On the road again tomorrow and headed towards the Olympic Peninsula.