Saturday, August 22, 2015

Staying on Track on a Camping Trip

Last week Stan and I spent two nights at the White River campground on Mount Rainier.  I must admit, I am not the most gung-ho camper in the world.  My goal isn't so much to enjoy the time, as it is to survive until we get back home.  That said, I love hiking around the loop from Sunrise, on Mount Rainier, to Frozen Lake and back.  It is a bit less than 4 miles, and very beautiful, all in the shadow of Mount Rainier.

This year, both Stan and I were busy right up until the last minute, and neither of us got in gear with packing until the day before we planned to go.  (Note to self:  Never leave planning and packing until the day before we go!)  We realized we didn't have extra butane fuel for the camp stoves, and we spent most of the day before driving around looking for the right kind.  Found them at MacLendon's - go there ahead of time next year!  Other than that, we did pretty well, except for warm jackets and hats.  It was at least 90° the day we left, and packing the car in the blazing sun we both forgot to take something warm for the nights on the mountain.

Here's our home away from home.

We've hiked at Sunrise several years, always in August.  A few times we've hit the wildflowers just right, but this year they were pretty much gone and dried out by the time we made it.  It was still incredibly beautiful - mountain scenery under a very blue sky.

We were surprised to find Frozen Lake had no snow at all.  We don't know whether this is normal some years, or a sign of global warming.  There was also less snow than usual on the mountain itself.

Frozen Lake - 2015
Frozen Lake - 2014
You can see bare spots, even at the very top

In the past when I have gone hiking, I have found going down very painful in my knees.  This time I remembered the advice of my physical therapist, Anne Morgan, and kept my core and my gluteus medius strongly clenched.  It worked great!  No knee pain!  Our "glutes"  (maximus, medius and minimus) are our strongest muscles and apparently when put to use appropriately they can protect our hip and knee joints.  So far, I have mostly been using mine as a cushion  : (

Our camping menu is pretty traditional - we take the same food every time.  I wanted to continue my good habits and my getting-back-on-track plans, but without interfering with Stan's camp cooking.  I decided to keep the same menu, but to make sure I had a vegetable and/or fruit with every meal.  I didn't want the hassle of cooking something like broccoli each meal, and I was packing at the last minute, but I tossed in what I had - a large package of heirloom cherry tomatoes from Whole Foods, blueberries, a couple of apples and a peach.  Here are my meals:

Breakfast - blueberry pancake, sausage and apple

Lunch - roast beef, ham and cheese roll-ups, tomatoes and peach slices

First night's dinner - franks, beans, sauerkraut and tomatoes.  Oh yeah, and wine.

2nd night's dinner - Stan uses packaged mix and adds mushrooms and sour cream
Stan gave me this big portion, but must admit I ate it all

I also made some trail mix:  pecans, raisins and chocolate chips.  A bit high-caloric, but pretty much healthy ingredients.  It tasted great on our hike!

In spite of being a bit chilly, and having to brave the dark walk to the "facilities" in the middle of the night, I enjoyed our three days.  It was nice to be out in nature and to talk with Stan without the distraction of TV, phones and the stock market.

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