Two weeks ago tonight, we had zero cell signal, dodgy Wi-Fi, the warmest, most snuggly mattress ever, and absolute serenity. There was nothing to greet us in the dark of night when we took Jaxx out to potty but the sound of the wind high in the evergreens. It was nothing short of magical, and I’ve thought of it frequently since we got back home.
We decided to get away for a couple of days and, instead of going to our travel trailer like usual, we headed to a rental cabin in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. I made the reservation back in July, the same week that Roxie died and that we adopted Jaxx. I knew then that we needed to get away, but we wanted to wait until Fall. We are Fall people. Summer and summer crowds are not for us.
We stayed in a tiny cabin, just 410 square feet in size. Set back against the trees, it was unimaginably charming. The owners make sure it is thoughtfully appointed with everything we needed for our stay – and the one thing I never knew I needed until I stayed in Fern Cabin, and that was a heated mattress pad (UTTER HEAVEN). We overpacked by about triple of what we actually needed, and we didn’t think it through well considering we were in a tiny space, but we made due by loading the bed of the truck with all our extra “stuff.”
The cabin is four miles west of the town of Ashford, and one mile east of the Longmire entrance of Mt. Rainier National Park (my favorite place on earth), we were in the gorgeous Nisqually Valley, where the Nisqually River is fed from a glacier of the same name up on Rainier. It’s a narrow valley in places, with very small towns and hundreds of cabins to rent tucked beneath the canopy of a vast evergreen forest. There are mountain climbing guide companies and equipment businesses, bunkhouses, and charming little restaurants (some of which are only open during the busy season). The cabin had a two-burner stove, microwave, and a wonderful little toaster oven, and we made due with the food we brought, although we did grab a delicious lunch (to go in the time of COVID) at the Copper Creek Inn.
I had a secret reason for booking our trip. I’m writing a novel at the moment (with a second one planned) that takes place in a fictionalized version of Ashford. I went there to study the layout and, most importantly, the nature surrounding the town so that I could portray it accurately. Since I’ve been home, I’ve made a lot of edits to my draft to try to reflect the peacefulness of the area. It was so peaceful, in fact, that Tim and I are currently discussing if we could make a move there. We’re trying to see if it could possibly fit into our lives. I found the kind of serenity I seek. While I get a similar experience out at camp (in the off-season when we’re nearly the only ones out there), I need it permanently, and I’ve been actively seeking it. We maybe just maybe found it. But until we make that decision, we’ll be going back to Ashford and staying at Happy Tails. It’s too wonderful not to visit again!