Sunday, July 22, 2012

a little vacation, part 2

mt. rainier from the car
So, the minute (literally!) I returned from my morning at THE market, we loaded up the car & headed out to the Mt. Rainier National Park...Nick had to check in with RMI by 3, so we had to be on the road by 11 to get there with time to settle into our room.

{Part 3 will be pix from my time exploring the park with Maggie, but this one is a few snippets from our time in between park visits in the tiny town of Ashford, WA.}

When I say tiny, I mean TINY! Just on the main road/hwy heading towards the national park, there are about a dozen+ businesses consisting of several places to stay; a rather cramped & smelly bead store (nice owner, but icky place!); a beautiful pottery/photography gallery; a general store; a busy laundromat; a climbing gear store (at Whitaker); a couple more guide services; a seedy bar & a number of good restaurants (including a great Nepalese place)! There are only about 220 residents in the town, scattered all about! That kind-of TINY!!

We stayed at the wonderful Historic Whitaker Bunkhouse & Motel (here)  right in Ashford along side the RMI/Basecamp headquarters.
the little "registration" area & cafe

our room on the bottom floor with lg french doors!
The place is absolutely charming! There are no tv or phones in the room, but I would stay there again anytime I came to the park & didn't camp! They have a little cafe that serves pre-made breakfast bagels & burritos, great coffee & espresso & Maggie's favorite - ICE CREAM! She visited the girls in the cafe (alone, please mom!) at least once a day!! They simply adored her & it was nice to hear that she was always polite & sweet when she came in! :) They also have a fabulous grill onsite that serves gourmet hamburgers, pizza, wine & beer & more! We were happy as clams! Of course, Maggie would've been happier if there'd been a few kids to play with, but unfortunately, the motel is used mainly by climbers.
Nick at the gear check with his climbing team

the general store - note the sign...
the general store was exactly what you'd expect from a little town like this - all the amenities you might need at higher prices than in the city nearby with a little dust to go with it. The sign below was on their wall outside - a very nice sentiment!
"may the hinges of friendship never rust"
the old chevy parked outside ashford creek pottery/gallery
old coke cooler outside the gallery
I spent a little time talking with the gal that was working there one afternoon (her name escapes me today!) & her granddaughter just happen to be there that day...
maggie & lexi rolling down the hill by the gallery

lexi giving maggie a bear-hug good-bye!
They were instant friends! Too cute! Maggie was so eager to play after 5 days of just her parents & no TV!!
The day we wandered up the road to see if I could get a couple shots of the cows, we found these llamas across the street & just as we were stepping up to take a few pictures, the owner pulled up in his truck, so Maggie got to feed the llamas!! Careful! They spit!

I loved this girl! She so obligingly left this piece of grass in her mouth while I was taking pictures - made me the think of an old cowboy leaning against the fence!
shake that thang!
Up the road a little further was this ADORABLE cottage/property that I SO wanted to wander around & explore! It's the perfect little forest gem! You expect little fairies to be flying around or a hobbit to open the door for you!

It's called "West Wind Woods" & the only info I can find about it online is that it's a gift shop, but it looked deserted, no hours posted anywhere & all shut-up. I took a few more around the property without trespassing "too much," but this shot's the best! I think I'll HAVE to blow this one up for the shop!
a butterfly visiting Whitaker's many flower boxes
That the gist of our days hanging in Ashford! While Nick was climbing, we were mostly in the park exploring, but the few hours between park & sunset, we just hung around the bunkhouse with a charming older couple from New England (but originally from the other side of the pond - He, Pedro, from the UK & she, Morag, from Scotland) that were staying there for 16 days! He was set to climb the week after we left & needed to acclimatize & train at high altitude a little longer than normal - hope he was able to summit! I wish I'd gotten a photo of them with Maggie, because she certainly talked (bugged!) to them enough & it was nice to have a little adult conversation too!


**Post 3 will hopefully be up by Tuesday with TONS of pix of THE mountain & the gorgeous forest around it!

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