Mount Rainier from Paradise,

Striking out on a morning hike in the Cascades with the fam, the trail is initially clear, dry, and tantalizingly level. The sky’s an infinite bowl of blue.  Sam helps Josiah with his jacket and shoes. Sons Daniel and Nathan trade compliments and backpacks hauling chores.  The sun is warm. The breeze fresh. All is well with the world.

Are we having fun yet?

I’m certain we’ve stumbled into a Twilight Zone episode gone bad.  In fact, I can hardly contain my disappointment at our good fortune.

A mile later we encounter a boggy swamp the size of a Third World country.  My heart leaps.  Finally, a real wilderness adventure of the sheer agony type.

“That’s more like it” I chirp, stumbling over a tree root and twisting an ankle.  I might have been seriously injured but a fallen fir tree the size of Alaska cushioned my fall.

Things That Run Fast in the Night

Night creeps up on us later, joining us for campfire stories and s’mores.  Of course, no Lowder Camping Trip is complete without a little unexpected adventure.  Like the dog tearing through the back of the tent just before “hit the rack” time.

With rain moving in fast, we jerry-rigged a “patch” from a rain poncho and tie-wraps.  Works like a charm.  So does the brisk, chilly weather.  We had the ENTIRE campground to ourselves one night.  (Everyone with brains stayed home!)

A little while later:

“Honey, there’s a small mammal in the tent” whispers Snuggle Bunny.

“Whaddya mean, `small mammal’?”

“You know. A small mammal. Like a mouse.”

“How do you know?”

“I just felt it run over my face.”

Great. A mouse. At 4:00 a.m. In the pitch dark.

If you’ve never chased a terrified mouse around a tent in the wee hours with flashlights and mittens, stumbling over slumbering kids and sleeping bags, you just don’t know what you’re missing!

Unless it’s a “Good Samaritan.” On steroids.

Stay tuned!

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