Day 17: Boise, ID to Yakima, WA / by Wookie Kim

Today was a driving day. I covered almost 400 miles from Boise, Idaho, to Yakima, Washington.

All along, I'd planned to spend today driving, not only to cover a lot of distance, but also to rest up for what I was hoping would be an uncomfortably long day on the 93-mile Wonderland Trail that encircles Mount Rainier. Specifically, I was thinking about doing a one-day 30-to-35 mile out-and-back.

But that plan changed. I have a cold. It's a minor one. But it's still a cold. And I can't risk testing my body's outer limits in this condition. So I've scrapped my plan. Instead of setting a specific distance target, I'm going to compromise by setting a time target. I'm planning to spend roughly 2.5 to 3 hours running out on the Wonderland. I'll then have plenty of time to get back--slow if I need to. It will still be a long day, but I won't be beholden to any specific distance.

I spent the first part of the drive annoyed by the change in plans. I really wanted to see as much of the Wonderland Trail as possible. But I quickly got over this feeling of resentment. I focused on just getting to Mount Rainier ASAP.

The drive was actually quite pleasant. There were few cars on the road. The route also followed the Oregon Trail, and I spent most of the day wondering how the early settlers traveled by oxen-pulled wagon across this dry expanse. It was really hard to grasp.

I also saw a vehicle from the 1960s, cruising along at 50 mph on an 80 mph highway. It was a sight to see.

When I stopped for lunch, I decided that I wasn't going to make it all the way to Mount Rainier National Park. More precisely, it wouldn't make sense to drive all the way there and try and find a campground in the dark. I decided I'd instead look up lodging options in Yakima, the city just outside of the park. I found an absolute gem on Airbnb.

The price? $60. Unbelievable, right? (This is partly why Airbnb is revolutionizing travel. Every Airbnb I've stayed at has been exceedingly memorable and surprisingly affordable.) The hosts--John and Barbara--were incredibly friendly and welcoming. I felt right at home. To top things off, they have over half a dozen cats, and two dogs to play with. After a couple weeks of camping, it was nice to have an evening unwinding in a place like this.

 This kitten likes my backpack.  

This kitten likes my backpack.  

Tomorrow, I hit Mount Rainier National Park.