The White River Campground, which is in Mt Rainier National Park is one of my favorite places on the planet. Over a 10 year period my son and I camped and hiked there about eight of those years. My daughter did go a couple of times but she didn’t enjoy it quite the way Greg and I did.
It became a tradition that we looked forward to every Summer. We got a ton of exercise, ate a lot of junk food, sat by the fire for hours, played games in the tent and laughed until our stomachs hurt.
A big part of the fun was the anticipation. We would go shopping at an outdoor sports store and buy any extras we needed. We always brought glow sticks to light up our tents and when expired would watch them flare up in the fire. We went crazy with junk food. Smores (chocolate, marshmallows, Graham crackers) to roast over the fire. We got Doritos, sausages, cheese puffs, Gatorade, hot chocolate and cases of mountain Dew for Greg. On the way to the mountain which was about 90 minutes from our home, we would stop by a mocha stand and prepare for the adventure.
Upon arrival we would drive around and around to find the perfect campsite and we always believed we found it. We would collect and buy wood to prepare for the wonderful fires we would build. We both have a little pyromaniac in us.
We hiked a lot and wanted to climb higher each year and eventually summit Mt Rainier, which is a tough, dangerous climb. I did summit one year with another group but Greg and I have not to date. We did use ice axes and crampons on interglacier.
We have so many funny stories that only a father and son might laugh about. In the night we would urinate in some bushes not too far from our tent. One morning a lady was there in the bushes and waved at us. We were horrified and giggling at the same time. “She is in our pee!” Another time while sitting by the fire which was surrounded by a double rimmed barrel, Greg was sharpening a stick with a knife and I reached out with my foot to see if the outer rim was hot. I screamed and he laughed, telling me how stupid I was and just at that moment he poked himself with his knife. Then he said, “We aren’t the brightest bulbs in the shed.” it is supposed to be the sharpest tools. Anyway, we laughed hard. The best of times.
It was always a little sad for the trips to end and come back to the constraints of home, but we always knew there was next year. We need to restart the tradition as life, work, studies and romantic partners gave interrupted. Loved every moment, Greg.