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Mt. Rainier Weekend

NWCOC Events in Review: Mt. Rainier Weekend

By Lincoln Sarmanian (Vashon Island, WA)

It was a busy fall season for the NWCOC, with not just one, but two fall driving events! On the weekend of October 5th and 6th, 2002, NWCOC Members and friends (Katherine Enos, Axel Kaliske, Lincoln Sarmanian, Chris Adshead, Doreen Berrington, John and Katherine de Vries, and John MacGregor, and Uschi Walter) gathered at IHOP in Kent, WA, for breakfast. Others met up with the well-fed group (Eero, Heli, and Lydia Kovero, Mark McKibbin, Henry and Leena Reed, and Dick and Eivor Von Hagel with their granddaughter Abby), the driving instructions and maps were distributed, and off we went!

The Citroens get attention first!
The Citroens get attention first!
Photo by Lincoln Sarmanian (NWCOC)

Two Rendezvous Points had been designated so that people could easily join us from the more southern areas. The first was at the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railway in Elbe, which had closed for the season the previous weekend, but was in full swing with a special charter event. There was enough to do here that this will likely be an event in and of itself in the future. Many participants commented on how much they enjoyed the exhilarating drive on the mountain road leading into Elbe. Unfortunately, at this point Doreen Berrington, who was still recovering from an illness earlier in the week decided that she had better return home and get some more rest. She was missed the rest of the trip.

The second Rendezvous Point was in a grocery store parking lot in Morton, allowing participants to do some last minute shopping for lunch, hiking food, and dinner. Since we left about ½ hour late, we didn't actually meet up with anyone at the Rendezvous points, but we met up with Mark Hunter at the Hotel parking lot. We then went on to the campground and hotel after making plans to hookup again after lunch.

There were 2 lunch options, one at the campground and one in Packwood. Then the entire group, except for Major Party Boy John MacGregor who headed back to Seattle after lunch, drove up to Paradise! Once past the road construction, the drive was excellent, with beautiful vistas popping into view and then being blocked out again. As we gained elevation, we soon found ourselves in a fog of ever-changing density.

After arriving in Paradise, the group scatted to see the Lodge, take a short hike from the parking lot, or to use the facilities. The Lodge is a must-see, with its strange furnishings like the 14-foot tall grandfather clock and the log-styled piano. The group I was with took a short hike up to a waterfall on the Nesqually Vista Trail. The elevation was high enough that it affected some of us, yet not so high that I could be bothered to remember the elevation and include that detail here.

Citroens gleam even in the fog!
Citroens gleam even in the fog!
Photo by John and Katherine de Vries (CAC)

As people finished their hikes and exploration of the Lodge, clumps of people headed back to the campground and hotel. The group I was with (4 2CVs and a D wagon) stopped at Box Canyon and hiked down to a waterfall on the Muddy Fork branch of Stevens Creek (and yes, there are a lot of waterfalls in the mountains). While beautiful, this hike was all downhill from the parking area and was very steep. Down was easy but getting back was another story!

On the drive back down, the fog became thicker and thicker as evening approached. All that could be seen was the headlights and taillights of the D wagon and the 4 2CVs following it down the mountain, like a duck and ducklings. Soon however, the D wagon was out of sight and the 2CVs slowed down so as to remain in visual contact through the remainder of the fog.

There were 2 dinner options, one at the campground and one in town. After returning to the hotel, several of us tried out the Jacuzzi before heading into town in search of dinner. After a long day, everyone turned in early, anticipating the activities of the next day.

Camp Citroen at the Cascade Peaks RV Resort and Campground
Camp Citroen at the Cascade Peaks RV Resort and Campground
Photo by John and Katherine de Vries (CAC)

There were 2 breakfast options, one at the campground and one in town. The groups met up, re-fueled, and headed out. The first stop was going to be for a short hike into an old growth area (Grove of the Patriarchs Trail), but somehow we never saw the parking area.

Eventually, we stopped at an intersection for some photos and to say goodbye to Chris Adshead, who was splitting off from the group and heading home. We all made an unplanned stop at a viewpoint to get a good look at Mt. Rainier.

We left the viewpoint and as had been the habit of the day, I simply continued following the little red 2CV in front of me. Mark McKibbin was riding with me, and with an excellent conversation and a car to follow, we zipped past the turnoff and out of the Park without even knowing it! Eventually, I pulled over to wait for the others, looked at the map, and realized the error. A quick U-turn and back we went, arriving about 35 minutes after the others! A French woman who had been traveling in the opposite direction had seen us, and upon arriving at Sunrise told the remainder of the group that she had seen another 2CV driving out of the Park as she came in. Axel asked if it was a Charleston, and she said that it was, so they knew what happened!

Axel, Uschi, and Lincoln show off the roomy 2CV trunk to curious hikers!
Axel, Uschi, and Lincoln show off the roomy 2CV trunk to curious hikers!
Photo by John and Katherine de Vries (CAC)

Five of us headed up the Burroughs Mountain Trail (on foot), with Henry Reed leading the way. There were 3 sensible turnaround points, and all of us made it to the second, whereupon Henry Reed and Mark McKibbin continued on, while Axel Kaliske, Uschi Walter, and I declared lunchtime. Everyone survived the rigors of the day, and the last 5 people and 3 cars headed back toward Seattle wishing that we had another day to explore.

Axel, Uschi, Henry Reed, and Mark McKibbin trundle onwards and upwards!
Axel, Uschi, Henry Reed, and Mark McKibbin trundle onwards and upwards!
Photo by Lincoln Sarmanian (NWCOC)

In all, some 11 cars (2 non-Citroen) and 19 people from 5 countries (Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, and the USA) participated for some or all of this weekend. Models present included 2CVs, D sedans, a D wagon, and an SM. As usual with any good event, people were talking of potential future trips even before this one had come to an end! If you didn't make it to this event, you missed out!

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