Back in July, I was able to join the Alpine Trails Book Club for a night of camping in Mount Rainier National Park! The premise is so simple but genius – pick a book to read, then gather to discuss the book in a place that is somewhat related to the book. In June, we read Dirt Work and joined a trail work party with Washington Trails Association. This time, the book was A Year in Paradise by Floyd Schmoe…so naturally, this amazing, impressive, bad-ass group of women met in Paradise on Mount Rainier.
We stood together underneath Comet Falls, the spray a very welcome shower on a hot day, in awe of the sheer majesticness of it all. I’m not usually a waterfall person, but this place? This place was cool.
We traipsed together through blankets of avalanche lilies in Van Trump Park.
We saw the sunset together from Pinnacle Saddle.
We camped together in the Cougar Rock Campground, sharing food and stories and gear.
For me, the camping was the biggest part – it meant that I spent my first night ever away from Nora and Lily. A bittersweet but oh so important rite of passage of motherhood.
On Sunday morning, we headed out on the main event – hiking around Paradise while
stalking marmots discussing our book.
I had read A Year in Paradise over ten years ago, back when I first started hiking. This was during a period when I was binge-reading anything I could get my hands on about hiking or mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest, so I couldn’t really remember many details. Rereading it, I was surprised by what a charming, inspiring book it really is – maybe I am just able to enjoy it more now that I am old and grizzled. Walking around in Floyd Schmoe’s old stomping grounds while discussing his book with fellow outdoorsy bibliophiles was nothing short of magical.
This weekend meant a lot to me, so I wanted to give it lots of real estate in my scrapbook – I absolutely did not want to whittle down my photos too much, because looking at them brings me lots of happy feels!
There’s a lot going on in the photos, so I didn’t want to detract from them by using lots of embellishments. I made the opening page with the Adventure Story Kit from Ali Edwards, and for the rest of the pages I just used photos, typed journaling, stamps, and handdrawn lines. (In case you’re wondering – why yes, I did in fact attempt to draw those lines straight. #talentedartist)
The stamp set I used is Roam from Kelly Purkey. I knew I wanted to use it for this trip even before I left, because the “widen your boundaries” sentiment worked perfectly for my mom’s weekend away.
I collected some memorabilia, but didn’t feel like doing anything more creative with it than stuffing it in a page protector. S’fine.
…and I was pretty stoked to be able to legitimately use the bears from the stamp set because we actually did see a bear! I haven’t seen a bear in the wild since a couple of weeks before Nora was born, so I’m happy that my ursine drought is over.
We stopped by the Paradise Inn, of course, the place where Floyd Schmoe and his wife, Ruth, spent the winter essentially snowed in (picture The Shining, but with adorable, adventurous honeymooners). I picked up a plush marmot for the girls (okay, so really it’s for me, because…I collect plush marmots) in the gift shop – I managed to make it back before bedtime, and Nora and I decided that Schmoe would be the perfect name for this particular marmot.
Loved the book, loved the places we went, loved the companionship of other women, loved the widening of my boundaries.