In the shadow of Mt. Rainier

The Ike Kinesaw State RV park

Mossyrock, WA.

August 10th, 1998

Having map filetraveled across most of Northwestern United States, we found ourselves in what was to become one of our favorite states. This is the place where mountains meet the sea and oceans and sounds abound. We had driven up out of Oregon, looking for adventure. It was time for big trees, camp fires, and a “get back to nature” experience. We had mossyrock-09stopped at the Ike Kinesaw state park outside of Mossyrock. Our site was just off Mayfield lake, which was created out of the Cowlitz river. The east end of this waterway has got to be one of the most scenic and serene points of the trip. This is a place to have a canoe. Imagine slipping down between the evergreens as the deer and black bears stop by the river's edge for a drink. We never got a chance to do it, but we would often stop at this point and sit for a few moments just watching the water and dreaming of such a trip. The scene is quite captivating at any time of day. The deer and bear are real. Both walked right mossyrock-08out in front of the car on that very road. The doe, which appeared to be a young mother, stopped in the middle of the road and faced us, then turned toward the woods and started to cross then stopped again. We slowed as we approached and finally were forced to stop, for she was in no rush to leave our view. Then off to the left came the fawn, still on shaky legs and oblivious to us as it scampered stiff legged up to the mother who led it off into the woods. This mossyrock-03would be the first of many encounters with deer in Washington. The next day we were off in search of Mt. Rainier. We drove around the long way stopping at a point with a particularly nice view. Behind me was a stand of Alder trees. A trail led right through the middle of them. The place looked so inviting we walked for a while to see what was down there. This was our first introduction to the forest of this state. I picked up a stick along the way and would later carve it into "stick courageous" as my wife would come to call it. I now rarely enter the woods without it. We continued our trip along US 12. Each time there was a turn we would find Mt. Rainier loomingmossyrock-10 up in front of us. Slowly it grew closer. Mount Rainier National Park is the 5th oldest national park in the nation. It receives about 2 million visitors a year. It is open 24 hour a day, but has limited access during the winter months. This mountain, like the other great peaks in Washington, was the result of volcanic action. Near by, is Mt. St. Helen which is famous for its eruptions in the 1980s. There are several observation areas in the National Park with winding trails and other adventures.

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