Yurt camping is kind of the best of both worlds – you get the experience of camping but with several of the comforts of home – like the ability to stay warm, and dry which – in the Pacific Northwest – is not always easy to do. It also gives you a bed off the ground and all you need is your sleeping bag – no pad, no tent, no worries!
This trip was kind of a spur of the moment decision. I’d been saying I was going to visit several of the National Parks up here in the PNW and hadn’t actually blocked out any time to do it. I had a few days off so I just decided to go, but the forecast called for rain, and not just a little.
A yurt, for those of you in dry parts of the world who have never heard of such a thing – is a big, round, 16 ft diameter, completely waterproof tent built on a wood platform with reinforced walls, a slightly domed top, a small heater and electricity. This one even had a window, and was in the middle of what was termed a “Yurt Village” within the state park I stayed in.
They usually sleep 5, with a twin over full bunkbed and a futon couch that becomes a second full sized bed. The other advantage is usually a covered porch, also indispensable in the PNW, and where I currently have my hammock strung up. Still outdoors, but completely dry 🙂
I’ve always had a fascination with Mt. Saint Helens. In the early 80s, after the explosion, they made a movie about it and I took one look at the luscious green landscape and the forested roads and mountains and something inside me connected on a deep level. I knew that I wanted to live there some day. Not on the mountain itself, but around those parts.
I camped at a state park about fifty miles from the Johnston Observatory, with plans to ride the area and see both mountains (Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Rainer). I ended up so deeply moved by my experiences that I never made it to Mt. Rainer. I will have to save that for another day.
By the way, the jet boil pot worked out great. The first night I boiled some potatoes in a small amount of water, then added black beans, peppers and onions, some cooked brown rice and some sautéed ground beef (all prepped at home before I came) and flavored it with some spices. I know it doesn’t look like much, but it was super tasty 🙂
Also, I learned something nifty about the jet boil:
Also have another pro tip for you… Swedish dish cloths. Never heard of one? Click here on: “What’s a Swedish Dish Cloth” 🙂 I’ve been using one of these at home for the past year or so. Discovered them at a store called Kitchen Kaboodle in Portland. They’re dishrags but so much more. Completely reusable, you can throw them in the wash to sanitize them and when squeezed dry they function like a chamois – soaking up water like nobody’s business. They replace the need for a sponge AND paper towels! So when camping they can be used to wash and dry of your dishes. Then just set it out and within a couple of hours it dries stiff as a board and ready to be packed away and used next time. Just wet it again and you’re off to the races. Seriously. Amazing.
On the first day I met the camp host. Her name was Scottie and she was a lovely older woman who had sold her house, bought an RV and is currently living in it, traveling from camp to camp but always staying within a couple hours of her grandkids. Woman after my own heart 😉
I also took a wetland hike:
The second day I rode out to the mountain and back. The elevation climbed to just over 4300 feet by the time I reached the observatory. It was a cloudy spring day so the ride was wet. And cold. But luckily I had my Hotwired gear and plugged in my jacket warmer and gloves and saved my fingers from turning white. I swear those things keep me on the road when I would normally say no way. Unfortunately the mountain was shrouded in cloud cover, but I’m still so glad I went!
Great trip. More to stories to come!
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