Every New Year’s I make reservations for at least one car camping trip the following summer. It’s a nice tradition and definitely comes in handy as the best campsites around here book up fast. This year we took advantage of the 4th of July landing on a Friday and traded fireworks, bbqs and festivities for camping in the woods. I’m sure there were many campgrounds around Washington that included fireworks but Mt. Rainier is really strict, understandably so. It didn’t feel much like 4th of July but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
There’s something so magical about being in the Mt Rainier National Park at night. The throngs of day tourists have left, classical music plays in the Paradise Inn and the stars shine brightly. A peace settles upon the mountain. Wandering through Paradise that first evening, we gazed up at the mountain peppered with snow and glaciers and dirty volcanic rock. We walked through the parking lot, imagining the climbers of vans left behind likely summiting or spending the weekend at Camp Muir. We paused to say hi to the deer and headed back to Cougar Rock in awe of Mt. Rainier’s beauty.
There’s only three drive-up campgrounds on Rainier: Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh and White River. Cougar Rock is a bit closer to the road than Ohanapecosh, so if you’re able to book early look for a site near the back of the loops. We were in B20 and it was quiet, practically neighborless and large enough for two (big) tents and cars. Then from any of the campgrounds there’s plenty of hikes ranging from nature walks to advanced climbs. We spent part of Saturday hiking in the snow up Skyline Trail from Paradise (post on that coming next) and the rest of the day making delicious Hobo meals on the open fire. I’ve included the recipe below if you feel inspired to make it on your next trip – it’s probably the easiest camping meal!
Pictured above are breakfast burritos made up of eggs, breakfast maple sausage and cheddar cheese. Cook, assemble and wrap these ahead of time, then throw them on the fire to reheat them up. Lots of protein for your hike and no dishes. Win win. :)Along the Nisqually River on part of the Wonderland TrailPesto Hobo Meal (makes 4-6 portions)
- 4-6 small potatoes, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2-3 bell peppers
- a bag of frozen corn (fresh corn on the cob works too)
- mushrooms, cut
- 1-2 zucchinis, sliced
- pesto sauce
- chicken sausage
It’s easiest to chop up all your veggies ahead of time. Once at camp start your fire roughly 30 minutes before cook time to allow for some nice coals. Lay foil out for each person’s meal, shiny side up is best. Put as many veggies and meat you’d lik into your individual foil packets then liberally scoop some pesto sauce over top. Wrap up your foil packet so that all the juices will be sealed and throw it on the fire. At this point the fire should be mostly coals with a small flame on the side. It’s best to put your packet over the coals or low flames. You still want enough heat to make the veggies & potatoes soft but not so much that the foil packets are burning. Let cook for 40-50 minutes. I like to check my packet along the way, 30 mins then 40 mins and so on to make sure I take it out at the optimum time … ie: when everything is soft, cooked but not burned. Once your packet appears to your liking, open up your foil and enjoy!
Lettering Medium: Pen
Campground: Cougar Rock
Hike: Panorama Point via Skyline Trail