Anxiety vs. Adventure: Possibly The Most Honest Post About Camping You’ll Ever Read 15

It’s been a few days since we came back from our first camping trip as a family of 5 and as I’ve gone through the pictures from our trip, I’ve been wrestling with how I want to approach this post. I could share the basics with you and talk about where we stayed, what we did and what we ate. I could tell you about how I fell more in love with my kids over those 3 days. I could tell you about how great it is to go explore the places you can see far off in the distance. I could tell you about the awesome coffee we made with a sand toy…..

Mt. Rainer Camping

White Rive Campground, Mount Rainer

Mt. Rainer Camping 1

Drive up to Sunrise, Mount Rainer

….But one of my favorite things about NW Healthy Mama is how we have an essence of truth flowing through this space. I want to share with you the logistics  because I truly do think we had the best campsite in the place and I want you to go stay there and have a blessed time as well. But, more than the details and the “how-to”, I want you to know that some people who do adventurous things, really aren’t that brave….or maybe they’re actually VERY brave since these things are hard for them.

Mount Rainer Camping 3

Wildflowers in the Sunrise area

While kayaking with my sister the other night, I finally understood something about myself and I need to share it here, for you to understand my full story. See, I’m the most cautious and yet adventurous person you might ever meet. I crave adventures with the people I love. I crave change and challenge , but I also struggle with anxiety, quite a bit actually. In parking lots, by campfires, in the car, on a ferry…anything.  Anxiety is real for me and yet, I love to go out and live life. I’m a believer in living brave. 

Mount Rainier Camping 5

Wildflowers and the most butterflies we’ve ever seen in the Sunrise area.

It all started after I had my 3rd baby. I’d be driving along and suddenly I’d start having extreme panic, sure that we were going to be hit by another car at any moment. Sometimes I was scared I’d have to pull over and have my husband come drive me home.

I get totally freaked out when my kids are around a campfire, and yet I want to sit around one all evening with my family.

Mount Rainer Camping 6


When we drive up a long, swirly road that glides along the side of the mountain, most passengers are staring out the window, oohing and aaahing, snapping photo after photo, but not me. I’m white knuckled, scared and reminding myself to keep breathing. 

A big part of my story is how I’m fiercely determined to not let my anxiety keep me inside, living a safe, boring and dull life. With all my heart, I believe this big, wonderful world was given to us to enjoy and so, instead of being crippled with fear, I choose to go out and live.  Anxiety is real, but a full life is so much richer and that’s what I’m determined to pursue.

The hardest things are always the most rewarding and I want to teach my kids how wonderful it feels to be an overcomer. I might be terrified while we drive up the mountain, but the top is always worth it. Imagine what we’d miss out on, if we let fear win?
Mount Rainer Camping 7


Coffee made with the assistance of a sand toy. Desperation meets innovation for the win.

Our first camping trip since having kids was such an unexpectedly special time. The first night was hard, when our 2 year old barely slept, and to be honest, my husband and I bickered (a lot) and we said we were going home in the morning. But just when things were getting really bad, we all settled into an un-plugged time of intense family bonding and the times we had looking into our kids eyes were priceless.

Sometimes you think you know what you need, but you have it all wrong. I thought I wanted to be a family “that camps”. What I didn’t know is how badly I needed early, cold and damp mornings holding my youngest in a folding chair, while the others slept. I didn’t realize how healing it would be for me to sleep with my nose buried into her hair. 

Mt. Rainer Camping 2

Mount Rainer Camping 9

Tipsoo Lake, Mount Rainer

I thought I wanted to see all the wildflowers and take a few pretty pictures, but more than that, I appreciated the beautiful moment when our kids started pointing out all the beauty around them.
Mount Rainer Camping 10Mount Rainier Camping 11

And don’t even let me get started on how glorious it is to go someplace without cell phone service. At first I felt all weird without my phone and then I started to breath in the beauty around me, instead of trying to take a great picture for Instagram. I walked these trails with my baby heavy and asleep against my back. Undistributed family time is priceless.

On our second day camping, we went for a little walk around Tipsoo Lake. This lake is a great walk for kids and I’ve never seen so many tadpoles in my life!Mount Rainier Camping 12

Fear is real, but this world we live in is far too wonderful to not enjoy. Anxiety is real, but our kids need to see their Mamas out having fun and living life.Mount Rainier Camping 12

When I think about my kids and what I want them to be like when they grow up, it inspires me to continue to conquer fear. I want my girls to hike with their friends and I want my son to drive his family up into to the mountains for sweet family time. Mount Rainer Camping 13

Now for the details about our trip:

Where we stayed:
White River Campground- This campground is just a step up from primitive camping, with just a vault toilet and no showers. Also, be aware that they don’t take reservations. Our campsite was #A3 and we absolutely loved it. It was huge and right next to a creek the kids loved playing in.

Where we visited:
Sunrise Visitor Center– Filled with lots of fun trails, a snack bar and lots of wildflowers, although those change depending on the season.

Tipsoo Lake: The walk around this lake was absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never seen so many wildflowers in my life! Also, the lake was filled with tadpoles and the kids loved that.
Mount Rainier Camping 14

“Having courage does not mean we are unafraid.” – Maya Angelou

“I learned that courage was not he absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

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About Angela Strand

Angela is a wife, mama to three little ones and a lifelong Washington State resident. Besides facilitating the NW Healthy Mama website, she loves being involved in her kids' school, hiking with her girlfriends, growing all the things, writing, reading and taking photos.

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