In an effort to get out and use our new roof top tent, I had been searching for nearby spots that would be far enough away to seem like we were somewhere new, but also close enough to bail if things went south. So mid-week, after work, I shot up 410 past Greenwater and took FS-70 towards the hills. I had a couple of spots I wanted to check, either by using google maps and another via a 4Runner group I’m in. So I checked three spots I found and another via the group and figured if one was being used, we would just move onto the next.
We woke up Saturday to nice weather and decided to go for it. We left the house around 10am and slowly made our way out of town. As always, we forget how long a trip to the grocery store takes when you’re itching to leave, so maybe next time we’ll actually stock up the night before and while we’re at it, fill up the gas tank as well. Those two stops probably held us up an hour. Hindsight or something, right? Anyways, finally got past all the stop lights & bad drivers and got to feel some wind in our hair.
Before long, I finally got to show Dani and fun little secret before the town of Greenwater. A fresh water spring. I’ve met two people here while filling up my own water, that say they won’t drink anything else it’s cured ailments. It kind of makes me wonder if I shouldn’t “test” this water out and see if I would feel any better drinking fresh spring water for a few weeks. Anyways, water bottles filled and finally finding gravel roads, we ascended into the mountains slowly but surely and finally getting to camp around 1pm and mostly setup by 2pm.
This being our second time setting up the RTT, we were more efficient than last time. Though, since this was also our first time setting up our awning, we made the rookie mistake of setting up the awning first. You can’t even get the cover off the RTT with the awning setup. I suppose we needed the practice anyways. So, RTT setup, than the awning and now what?! What do you actually do when you’re out and about, camp is setup, it’s too early for dinner. Well, we read and then every 45 seconds we had to corner our pup Kenji and get something out of his mouth. He’s certainly at that, I want to chew and eat everything I see, on the ground. So we got more reading done as his leash got shorter and shorter. After we had our fair share of reading, we tried to teach ourselves how to play cribbage. And while I’m certain this game is easier than these instructions made it seem, we could not figure it out. So, if anyone is willing, please direct us to the ‘cribbage for dummies’ video. For real though, we got kinda bored pretty quick and realized we needed to come better prepared next time. I’m thinking a couple more card games, a project for the rig and maybe throwing axes. Actually, throwing axes first!
We decided we were hungry enough for Dani to start working on some Fajitas and I figured I’d fly the drone around a bit and wander around the area a little. By the time I had run through a battery and pissed off the local wildlife, Dani was ringing the dinner bell.
Belly full of food, pups fed and the weather starting to drop, it was time to start thinking about bed. With a stage 2 burn ban in effect, especially for elevations past 4,000 feet, we enjoyed the sunset and then crawled into bed. Which, since we skipped the annex this time, we brought the pups into bed with us. That ended up being a slight mistake since they seem to move around a lot more than we anticipated. We made the most of it until the wind picked up and our rain fly started to whip into the tent. Normally there are tension rods to hold it out and away from the tent, but the awning is installed in a way that makes that impossible, so we’ve just let it hang. Well, at midnight, Dani freaks out thinking there is a grizzly trying to get into the tent. I jumped out and fixed the rain fly and then figured I’d try a few quick shots of the milky way, even though there was still plenty of light out at midnight. After about twenty minutes, I crawled back into bed…
The one nice thing about the RTT is how dark it stays, even in full sunlight. We slept through the sunrise, barely and our loyal pups reminded us they were ready for breakfast. I don’t think either of us got more than a few hours of sleep that night, but you really can’t complain when you climb down the ladder and are presented with Mt. Rainier in all her glory.
Knowing this would be a quick trip. We fed the pups, made breakfast and quickly cleaned up camp to try and get a little exploring in before turning back towards home. We had hoped to visit a nearby fire lookout, but with Pita not being much of a hiker these days, we stuck to exploration via 4Runner. It was fun to show Dani some of the other spots I had spot checked earlier in the week and we both talked about coming back, minus the pups, to try another spot and then hike up to the fire lookout. Either way, we had a great evening, learned a few things about camping out of a 4Runner and can’t wait to get back on the road and then right off of it!