Happy Campers

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In the Northeast, people go "to the shore" for summer vacation. In the Southeast, they go "to the beach". In the Midwest, they go "to the lake". In the Pacific Northwest, we camp. In fact, people here are so into it that the state parks are usually booked a year in advance. Yes, a year. Being that we're not planners (or at least one of us isn't) and the weather is so incredibly umpredictable here , we usually wait until the conditions are right and then go for it. We've ended up in some pretty cool places off the beaten path and this time was no exception.

Our good friend, and the person who moved us out here 10 years ago, Jim is always up for last minute camping trips and no one else in his family shares his penchant for spontaneity. He knows he can count on our family to fill that need. Last Friday (7/1) he and Trey spent the entire day driving the Mountain Loop Highway in search of the perfect wilderness campsite. The definition of "wilderness" runs the gamut from "rustic" to "a rotted out picnic table and a fire pit." They found a site not only with a table and fire pit but right on the river. They claimed it with a tent and came home to share their find with the rest of us. Quinn & Ben had previous plans for Saturday so Ian went with them and we joined them that evening. We pulled up and everything was ready for our arrival. Just had to put our bedding in the tent. It was sure to be a perfect evening...........

Chilling out

Ben claimed the "Mac Daddy" chair

Just a few steps down to our paradise.

The view from our site.

Jim can come with us anytime. Look at how thoughtful he is.

We just finished dinner around 8:00when a visitor showed up at our site named Sheriff John Brown. (not really his name but that's what we called him) Apparently we were at a "reservation only" site. We begged him to have mercy on us if we promised to leave the next morning. No way was this guy budging. And he did have his ticket pad in hand so we cooperated. In his defense he did have an alternative site reserved for us five miles down the road in the middle of a grassy field. It wasn't waterfront property but it would do.

We packed up, moved and set up camp in the next 90 minutes just before dark. Everyone went to bed only to be awakened by rain drops at 4 a.m.! (Just for the record, this has happened every single time I've camped in Western Washington) There is just nothing romantic about camping in a downpour. The rain continued--despite the forecast of a "passing shower"--until noon. I threatened to leave but once the sun came out, it was beautiful. We took a hike to the ice caves and had a wonderful steak dinner, played Farkle and roasted marshmallows. It ended on a high note.

We came home on the 4th just in time to get ready for our next adventure. Our good friends Mark & Jackie offered us their pop-up tent trailer while they were out of town. We picked it up Tuesday morning and by 3:00 that afternoon we were settled in. My mom came up to join us, the kids each brought a friend and we went 30 miles away to a beautiful campground on the beach. The weather was sunny and low 80's. Definitely an improvement from our previous excursion.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to tent camp again after this.

Ma with her favorite girl, Millie.

Skipping rocks just before a beautiful sunset.
Enjoying a beach campfire.
Sun-kissed boys.