Well, I had the first trip in the new Orama Teardrop Trailer. I’ve spent the last month plus prepping the trailer with everything I could possible need (more on this later) and performed the final prep Thursday night/Friday morning. For this trip it would just be the boys and I staying at Verlot campground (site #15) about 11 miles northeast of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway.
Here is the truck and trailer all ready to go. I got my action packers on top with general camping stuff. In the truck was the Yeti 65 qt cooler, a large big with the stove and toilet, and the bikes. The trailer had the camping chairs, clothing, toys, side table, and our camping rug.
We got on the road at around 12:30 and arrived at around 2:15. It is only 61 miles from West Seattle – so a very quick and easy drive. We missed the holiday traffic which was nice. The campground is tiny – only about 25 sites and because of the high probability of rain it ended up not being full. Setup was easy. The best part is once unhitched I can wheel the trailer into the exact position I want it in – very cool.
This is a close-up of the awning side of the trailer.
The kitchen is open. The side table that attaches once you stop is incredibly useful. That is where I kept the stove for cooking.
We were right on the South Fork Stillaguamish River. A very fast and very cold river. I gave the boys plenty lecturing on staying away from the river unless I’m with you. They were good with this rule. They were more interested in their bikes.
Location of tent pad – if you had a tent. This is where we put up our popup potty tent. We are using a Reliance toilet with the waste bags.
Now a bit about the campground. It’s small, it’s on a river, it has trees, the toilets are very clean (and flushable). My PNW Camping book gives it a 9. I give it a 7. Here is what I didn’t like. The spots, while not on top of each other, were fairly close. It’s a small campground. The loop we were on was bordered by a fence and houses to the east – takes away from the camping feel. My particular spot shared the parking so my site was the left of the trailer (vs the standard right) therefore I had to flip the awning to the other side. While the river is nice, it’s not usable for water fun – too cold and too fast moving. There is nothing overly scenic about it beyond that. It is in a good location – right across from the FS service visitor center. For those of you who like to be connected – absolutely no cell service once you get out of the town of Granite Falls.
The weather – well it was cloudy and cool with off and on rain. It poured during the nights and sprinkled off and on during the day. The campground is located in a deep valley between 6k+ foot mountains which seems hold the clouds in place.
Back to the trip…
Cooking pasta and burgers the first night…can’t forget the wine!
On Saturday we drove up the Mountain Loop Highway. On a whim I decided to stop at the Big 4 Ice Caves. I was curious about them as there was a tragic story a few years back where a chunk of snow and ice had collapsed on a family checking out the caves. The daughter was killed and another family member was injured. As we pulled up the parking lot was filled with search and rescue vehicles. The park rangers greeted us explaining they were performing drills and that a helicopter would be landing here soon. What frickin awesome timing!
Here is the Snohomish County Sheriff’s helicopter coming in.
Zach and Nate were lovin the helicopter show. The helicopter took off, flew to the ice caves, and picked up the pretend victim (an empty stretcher with two rescuers attached)…these rescuers were attached to a cable about 100feet long dangling from the heli. Very cool watching them drop the rescuers and stetcher to the ground.
My favorite kid photo.
This is a video (just over 4 minutes) of the heli bringing in the rescuers.
We decided to hike up to the ice caves. It’s a fairly easy hike of two miles. The last mile climbs through the forest and an avalanche zone. The boys were good but they did need a rest break.
Entering the avalanche zone. Look in the background at the trees that were taken out by an avalanche.
And then we hit snow. The last 1/4 mile was on snow until we reached the snow field that would later make the caves.
An amazingly large snow field. I’m guessing we were no higher than 2500ft.
Looking back from the snowfield onto a pond.
Ok, I’ll get in on the action.
From there we proceeded in the truck to Barlow Pass. This is where the pavement ends and the…
potholes begin. For the first 1/2 mile, the road was littered with potholes. The boys laughed and laughed as we bounced over them…they really enjoyed it. Once we got past that, the road was perfectly smooth – you could have easily done 40mph if you knew there were no cars on it.
Very scenic road – really liked the fresh greens coming out.
There lots of ponds/lakes along the road as well.
We tried to get off the beaten path a bit and took a FS road up a mountain for a ways. Zach got bored and asked that we just head back to the campsite. This was after we traveled the length of the road to Darrington.
Gratuitous truck shot.
The road is bordered by 6k+ mountains. The road elevation is between 1k and 2.3k ft.
And, if you have an old stainless steel washing machine drum – they make an awesome fire pit. This was our neighbors setup at the campground.
We left on Sunday morning as it was still cloudy and drippy. Not certain I wanted to sit around cold and wet all day. Plus, the family next to us was leaving – our kids had befriended each and were playing constantly.
Overall, a great trip. As for packing and stuff I brought…I definitely had too much. No need to bring 3 pots when one will be sufficient. I have lots of things I take that will probably never need like packs of zip ties. I will need to reduce these items and I’m hoping I can cut back on what is packed. The teardrop worked amazing. The first night it rained a lot and I even had the fan lid open – no water entered and we stayed cozy. The Serta 4″ mattress topper (half foam and half memory) plus a 1″ egg crate foam worked beautifully – never bottomed out and slept really well. The rhino rack sunseeker II awning created a pond of water in it that needed to be pushed out – otherwise it worked well. Very happy with the trailer, the ease in setup and the towability. It attracted A LOT of attention at the campground. Anyone walking by stopped to check it out – it was fun showing off the trailer. It is amazing to me how many people don’t know what a teardrop is.