Last week we decided to completely re-think our itinerary, as we were feeling a little rushed moving every three days. Of course, as soon as we decided to stay in one place for six whole days, we found that our battery life wasn't what we thought it was! We're now the proud owners of portable solar panels, which we're working on hooking into the RV's power system.
At Mount Rainier, we hiked the Skyline Trail, which took us all day. It was a beautiful hike, and difficult too. The elevation change was about 1,700 feet over two miles, and then we hiked another two and a half miles back down to the visitor center. As it was our first really big hike of the trip, it took us a good bit longer than the estimated 4.5 hours suggested by the Park Service.
While we were at Mount Rainier, we had a great campsite in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, along Skate Creek outside of Packwood. We camped alongside the road, and enjoyed the little trail that went down to the creek. We even had our own private waterfall just a few steps down the rocky beach.
From Packwood, we headed up towards Mount St. Helens for a few days. We hiked all the way though Ape Cave, the longest lava tube in the continental U.S. at over two miles long.
Naturally, as soon as things started to get easier, we hit a snag. Or rather, the snag hit us. We had a little fender bender in a parking lot when a guy in a bigger RV misjudged his size and scraped a bit off our back end. Luckily, no one was hurt, and there was very little damage. But none of us were planning on spending our afternoons exchanging insurance information! Since we'll be on the road for quite a bit longer, we're still working out the details on the repairs, but it's mostly cosmetic damage.
One of the best parts about being in the middle of nowhere has been the stargazing. We went out last week to see a meteor shower. While we only saw two shooting stars, the view was still pretty incredible.
This week we're being a little tourist-y in and around the west side of Portland before heading to the coast. I'm typing this post from the Multnomah County Central Library, which is by far the fanciest library on our trip so far!