We changed our plans to go to Squamish, Canada about 15 minutes after seeing a weather report calling for seven consecutive days of rain. “How about Leavenworth, WA instead?” I asked Tyler.
Leavenworth sits on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range. The Cascades are not a misnomer – waterfalls gush from the mountainsides like Dubai’s wet dream, occasionally pausing in lakes long enough for a photo. They’ve adopted a Bavarian theme to the town that seeps into every storefront decoration. The lack of Saint Bernard puppies, however, left me slightly disappointed.
Leavenworth treated us well, even though the forecast for rain proved accurate every single day, except for our off day catching up in the library. We’re adapting to our new life as dirt bags. McDonalds provides free ice for our cooler, and the KOA campground lacks the security to notice us strolling in for occasional free showers and a Jacuzzi soak.
We drove up to disperse camp near a trailhead along Icicle Road and scored a spot in the trees adjacent to the river and two trailheads. For three days Beluga’s (our little white truck on the go) engine never turned on. After our morning oatmeal we’d load our daypack with snacks and rain gear and hike from one amazing lake to another.
On Monday morning our alarm woke us at 5AM for what would end up being a 14 hour weighted hike through nearly constant wind and drizzle up 7,000 feet and across 18 miles. We had intended to climb Prussik Peak, so we carried 25 pounds of climbing gear. By noon we realized that attempting to climb would not only be miserable, but also dangerous. Fortunately the clouds added an ethereal quality to the granite waterfalls and lakes of the Enchantments region, which kept us in awe even as our feet ached.
That night, as every night before it, I had trouble sleeping. My overly active imagination hears people walking outside when pine needles fall on the camper shell. The rustle of the tarp is surely a bear trying to break into our cab for trash. We’re saving tons of money not staying in campgrounds, and I love being able to strip down and dip into the frigid river to wash the important bits, but it doesn’t feel 100% safe.
I try to think about the way the turquoise water shimmers when a gust of wind pulls the sun out from behind a heavy cloud, or the ominous Dragon’s Back mountain with its jagged peaks slicing through a congealed mass of dark clouds. I remember cuddling in the two-person hammock and leftover curry in our pot. I visualize the river rushing under foot logs and past carpets of greenery like a computer screen saver. But the creak of a bungee cord outside still makes my pen pause and makes me laugh despite myself. Even in Paradise the imagination can run a little wild and send shivers under your fleece.
We decided to camp in campgrounds while we adjust to living in the truck. This change has resulted in more and better sleep!