A great fall camping trip is similar to the perfect date. You set off in a state of anxious uncertainty, wondering if the weather will hold, or if you’ll be warm enough, only to forget about those details once the magic of being in the moment takes you for a ride. And when you look back in life’s rearview, the one thing you do remember is how much flippin’ fun you had, and that you can’t wait to do it again.
So with the thought that yesterday’s memory is tomorrow’s adventure, we’ve shared a few of our favorite fall camping trips to inspire your next night outdoors.
Goldmeyer Hot Springs—Central Cascade Mountains, WA.
Kiira Schoessler: Sales Coordinator
There are people that make plans, and people, like Kiira, who make plans happen. Kiira is often the behind-the-scenes person pulling all the right strings to get projects in motion. She’s a self-proclaimed powder hound in the winter, and alpine lake swimmer in the summer. She’s also still sporting her Halloween costume (a Cruella Deville inspired hair doo), which gives you a glimpse of her wild side …
“Goldmeyer Hot springs is my favorite cold weather camping trip. It’s a 4.5 mile walk on an old dirt road, the springs are well maintained, clothing is optional, and you always meet interesting people.
“A few years back my friend and I hiked into Goldmeyer. The weather was supposed to be rainy, but we weren’t worried because a dip in the hot springs keeps you toasty all night. As we were setting up camp, we discovered we had left the tent poles at home. Instead, we used guy-line and trekking poles to rig up our tent. As we were soaking in the springs before bed, it got cold enough to snow. It snowed all night and it turns out we put our tent under a pine bough that sloughed snow off every 30 minutes. It ended up snowing two feet but our pole-less tent withstood the storm! I think we indulged in the springs three or four times throughout the day and a half we were there. As we headed back to the car, we had to trudge through the snow for 4.5 miles. It was a scary, slippery drive down the dirt road, and we were very lucky that the car in front of us had a chainsaw to clear the fallen trees lying across the road. Altogether it was an awesome trip because hot springs make everything better!”
Mount Rainier—Northern Loop Trail, WA.
Jim Boswell: Marketing Director
Jim “Bozzie” Boswell used to drive a VW Van … and that was after serving in the Navy and the Air Force Reserve. But now the Boz rides a bike instead, every day, rain or shine. Oh, he also has two poodles (Fun fact: one is dyed Seahawks colors). OK, yes the Boz is an enigma, however, his passion for the outdoors is infectious. Plus he also happens to be the best bike mechanic at Therm-a-Rest, which makes him invaluable.
“One of my favorite trips was a September overnighter on Mount Rainier. It was a great way to wrap up the summer and transition into fall. We put together a 45 mile loop on part of the Wonderland and Northern Loop trails. The mountain was still in summertime mode, but would begin to transition quickly. We headed out on a sunny and clear morning and enjoyed temperatures around 75 degrees by mid-day, and it still felt like summer. We hiked fast to make our campsite before dark at 27 miles into the loop. We moved through a few climate zones, along the Carbon and Winthrop glaciers and had a great view of Grand Park. The start of the second day was also blue skies and sunshine, but mountain weather can change quickly. As we made our way back towards the Carbon River, the clouds and rain moved in to remind us that fall was approaching.”
South Utah Desert
Justus Hyatt: Content Marketing Manager
A meeting with Justus Hyatt might go like this: she’ll take you to school on “marketing funnels” “sales leads” and other concepts, and just when your head is spinning, one of the two dogs rolling in her posse will rise up from a nap and lazily saunter over to toot on your leg. But don’t worry, Justus (and her canines) mean no harm. They only want to share their abundant enthusiasm for the outdoors, marketing trends and that wonderful moment of waking up and … feeling rested from sleeping on a Therm-a-Rest pad.
“A few Novembers ago, the Therm-a-Rest team flew into Vegas and picked up an RV for a four-day video shoot in the desert.
“We drove four hours north to our first location, only to discover it wasn’t going to work. After a quick time lapse of the setting sun, we endured another six hour drive north, ending in a bleary-eyed, roadside bivy at 2 a.m.
“After a 5 a.m. wake-up call (no film director can pass on getting one more “amazing” time lapse of a sunrise) we descended into some stunning slot canyons, while the sun warmed our soggy Seattle bones. But our stoke only lasted until we realized that the seasonal spring we anticipated drinking from had run dry.
“This left us no choice but to filter the muddy, foul-smelling water running through the canyon’s main channel. Clearly the result of some rude, bovine intervention upstream, we then boiled it to nuke anything still potentially alive. Since we didn’t bring the carbon filter, the result, though “safe” to drink, tasted like cooked cow piss and hay. So began our slow dehydration process that would last for the next 48 hours.”
“I won’t say we were glad to get back to the RV on the afternoon of our last day, but I can say that gallon jugs of water from a gas station never tasted so good. But despite running on a serious deficit for water and sleep that trip, we never lost site of the fact camping will always be better than being behind a desk in Seattle.”
Klapatche Park—Mount Rainier
Jim Ault: Senior Graphic Designer
Jim Ault is a reticent Southerner. We assume he prefers to let his art do the talking, however, that’s only an assumption, because he certainly hasn’t told us that during his 14 years haunting the halls of Therm-a-Rest. Fond of spending several nights alone in the woods, “Arkansas Ault” usually shows back up to the office with a thousand yard stare. Who knows what happened out there? We don’t. But when we asked him about his favorite fall camping trip, he obliged, giving a location and brief description, which we’ll start with here …
“For five or six days, we never saw another person.” That must have been heaven for Ault, who spent what he thinks was six days in Klapatche Park on Mount Rainier. Fittingly, Klapatche is suspected to be a Native American word, but its meaning has been lost. For Ault, who doesn’t like words anyways, the beautiful high meadow has plenty of meaning—it’s a place to have the best fall camping trip of your life.