Bumping River & Boulder Cave
A mid-week adventure.
We were doing some scouting for possible dispersed camping sites for a group trip we have planned for late August, and discovered a number of great spots along the Bumping River in the William O. Douglas Wilderness area of the Wenatchee National Forest on the East side of the Chinook Pass in Mt. Rainier National Park.
It was Bonnie’s first time camping in the hammock, she wanted to try it out before our upcoming road trip to Denver, so we kind of combined trips. We found some possible locations for our group trip, and a great little site at a turn of the river that would let us set up hammocks basically looking right out to the river.
We got set up and of course, it started to rain. Not more than a light sprinkle, enough to make us glad we’d set up flys, and so we sat under mine to have a bit of dinner instead of around the fire ring. But we did have a small fire, thanks to my collapsing wood stove that I sometimes use for cooking on.
It requires a bit of babysitting, but burns just about any small twig, stick, dried pinecone, or whatever. It’s kind of handy to have as a backup (assuming I’m somewhere I can have a fire). The next day we explored around our site a bit, checking out the river, then headed over to Boulder Cave. It’s a short walk to the cave and back, something we’ll probably take the kids to check out in August.
Stockmen said that the river’s name was given because during a freshet heavy boulders were carried down the river creating a rumbling vibration as the rocks kept bumping together.Variant names listed by the USGS for the Bumping River include Tancum River and Tanum River
It was a beautiful day out, and after a quick picnic lunch at the Boulder Cave site, we did some more exploring of the forest roads for possible camp sites. This included a very rough road that I had fun taking the Jeep down, but wouldn’t ask my friends to attempt just for the sake of camping… I did take a bit of video along the way if you want to check that out. Then, on the way back through the Chinook Pass (elevation 5430 ft.) we climbed back up in to the clouds, and passing back through visibility was down to around 30-50 feet at times. As we dropped back down the other side, we were greeted by blue skies once again. Part of the joys of traveling around Mt. Rainier.
WTA Page for Boulder Cave: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/boulder-cave
Uppver Valley Bulletin Board info on Boulder Cave: http://uppervalleybb.com/info/bouldercave.html