Sept. 8-13, 2014September 8
. A week and a half after camping at Lake Cushman, we took a “Mt. Rainier Loop” camping trip. We met John and Terri, who’d been camping on the coast at Copalis, in the national park’s Cougar Rock campground. We were in a heavily forested, old-growth area near Mt. Rainier’s Longmire Lodge. September 9
. The next morning, as I was taking Nick on his morning “constitutional” (walk), clouds were covering the mountains. We hoped that we’d be able to see Mt. Rainier when we got up to the Paradise Visitor Center. But the mountain was not to be seen that day.
Later that afternoon we were back in the sun when we pulled into the Ohanapecosh campground in the southeastern part of the national park. The campground is surrounded by old-growth forest. It’s the most popular campground in the park. There are no hook-ups in the campground.
A beautiful snow-fed river runs through the area. Even though Mt. Rainier dominates the area, there’s no view of it from the campground. Ohanapecosh is thought to be a Taidnapam Indian word for "standing on the edge" of the Ohanapecosh River.
After setting-up our camp-sites we drove three miles back in the park to the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail (1.1 miles). The Grove is just west of Stevens Canyon Entrance on the Ohanapecosh River. There we walked the trail along the river to an island of ancient Western red-cedar, Douglas-fir, and Western hemlock trees. It was a gorgeous walk.September 10
. About an hour after leaving Ohanapecosh Campground we had our sites in the Birds Eye View loop of Tacoma Power and Light’s Mossyrock Park. We were above Riffe Lake. Our sites had water and electric hookups. With senior discount, the fee per site was $26 per night.
Camping in Mossyrock Park was a “trial run.” Several times we’ve camped at Mayfield Lake. It’s another Tacoma Power and Light campground less than ten miles down the Cowlitz River. Whereas Mayfield Lake campground is generally closer to the shore and “in the trees,” Mossyrock Park is spacious, has large grassy areas, and is a little more removed from easy lake access. Both campgrounds are nicely maintained.September 11-13
. By noon we were driving west on state highway 12 (White Pass Highway). We were headed to Millersylvania State Park. Before leaving, however, we’d taken a short drive with John and Terri and took a look at Mossyrock Dam. It’s billed as the tallest dam in the state, standing 606 feet above bedrock. It reportedly generates about a billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, enough to power about 78,000 homes here in the Northwest.
Millersylvania State Park is a comfortable “tried and true” campground for us. This was either the fourth or fifth time we’ve camped there since moving back to Washington State. It’s close enough to home to be able to drive back to attend meetings, get more groceries, and even go to the doctor, if needed.
We enjoyed showing John and Terri some of the park’s beauty. We walked in old-growth forests along Deep Lake as well as on boardwalks through wet-lands.
Evening temperatures were comfortable and diminished breezes made it even more enjoyable sitting around the campfire.Millersylvania May 2009Millersylvania June 2014