Leaving Ellensburg KOA at about 10:45 in the morning, we were on today’s campgrounds searching adventure. We took Washington 82 towards Yakima. The landscape was still the high desert scene with low yellow mounds dotted with sparse vegetation and big scale of orchards on the hillside. After a long climb up to a hill we came to a view point. The valley was below our feet. Snow-capped mountains are in the horizon beyond the yellow mounds. However, the valley is filled with lush green farmlands and trees. It is amazing that people turned this high desert into an oasis.
Then we drove down into a barren land with no farmlands nor trees. Only sagebrush gave this yellow landscape some color. An exit sign told us that this is a military area. We drove up and down this no man’s land for quite some time. When we drove down hill into Yakima, a massive snow peak popped up against the southwest sky. “It towers over everything!” Said Stephen. At first, we thought it was Mt. Rainier. Then another huge snow peak appeared on the Western sky. I checked the map. And now we figured out the first snow peak we saw was Mt. Adams which is southwest of Yakima, and Mt. Rainier is northwest of Yakima. The commanding view of both Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams from Yakima was awesome!
Crossing Yakima River, we exit to highway 12 West. Stephen said there are lots of campgrounds along 12 West and we will check the campgrounds along the road. We first checked Windy Point. The Tieton River flows by the campground. But it was full. Then we stopped by Willows. It was packed too. We toured around the Hause Creek campground and didn’t find any site that suits our need. We parked our trailer and heated up some chili with rice I made last night for lunch. The camp host stopped by and chatted with Stephen. She told us the Las Wis Wis campground is about 45 minutes drive away.
We continued our adventure on highway 12. Hillsides were covered with loose rocks. Stacks of rocks filled wire crates are lined up by the foot of the hillside to form walls to keep the falling rocks from the road. There are campgrounds along the Rimrock Lake, but we could see they were booked from the road. We stopped by the Dog Lake campground and the sites were too small for the Escape trailer. We stopped at the White Pass Village to get some eggs. The White Pass is at 4,500 feet. There was roadwork along the White Pass Scenic Byway. At one section, a pilot truck led our way through the work zone. One side of the bridge was under maintenance. Finally, after all the drive through the winding mountain road, we came to the Rainier Viewpoint!
Looking across the forest, the giant volcanic peak of Mt. Rainier was the focal point of this spectacular scenery. The blue sky and the green mountains and forest adorn the beauty of Mt. Rainier. What a pretty and pure scene! The peak is covered with glaciers which feed the Columbia River and into Puget Sound.
We moved on along the Scenic Byway. The massive peak of Mt. Rainier appeared in the front of the road and followed us. Shortly after passing the exit to the Mt. Rainier National Park, we came to the La Wis Wis campground. We drove around the campground, checked out Loop A and it was almost full. Some of the sites were reserved and a few were open for one night. The road was very narrow. Our truck and trailer barely went through the trees. Loop B to E are for tents only. We checked Loop H thereafter. There was a sunny multisite available for two nights. We stopped by the site and discussed whether we should take the site or not. We decided to check Loop A again. But we were disappointed to find out the site was open on Loop A was too tight to back up the trailer. We had to look for a campground elsewhere.
Stephen took a left turn when we left the campground. He asked me if we were heading to the right direction. I was not sure. But when I saw the sign 12 E to Yakima, I realized that we made the wrong turn. Luckily, there was not much traffic on the road. So after climbing up the road for a short distance, Stephen made a U turn and we were back on the right direction.
It was after 3 in the afternoon and we needed a place to stay. We spotted a sign saying RV park by the road and drove down there but only found some private residency. We kept going on 12. The closest campground is Packwood RV Park according to the map. When we pulled in to the RV Park, an old lady sitting in the office told us it was almost full and we had no reservations. But she was able to arrange a site for us for one night. What a relief that we finally got a campsite to stay for tonight. The rewards for staying at this campground is the view of the peak of Mt. Rainier. I can see it from the trailer as I am typing this blog. Yahoo!