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Archive for June, 2015

Camping June 2015

Our camping has been sort of hit and miss since the first time we went as a family in 2011. In 2011, we decided to go last minute in mid-September. We bought an 8 person red tent. (Normally I hate the color red, but it was the only one that was the right size. Now that I’ve woken up in that tent with the sun shining through for so many years…the color is actually starting to grow on me!) In 2012 and 2013, the only camp-outs we went on were the planned Gillette family reunion camps at Fort Ebey in September. We always had so much fun that we wanted to camp again, but we found ourselves at the end of camping season! Last year, 2014, it would have been the same, except that we had the wrong dates for the Gillette family campout, and upon arriving on Friday evening with a packed Suburban, we decided to just grab the few things we needed for ‘lone’ camping and head out east to Wagon Wheels Campground in Marblemount. James set the tent up in the dark while I tended to Evolet who was 1 year old and very upset. We had a wonderful time and discovered our favorite camping spot so far on the second night of that trip, walk-in sites at the Newhalem Visitor’s Center. We also still got to go to the Gillette camp out two weeks later.

This year I wanted to make sure that we camped BEFORE September so that we could get a few trips in. Our biggest failure in the past had been lack of planning, so a month or so ago I wrote it on the calendar and started planning food and camping ‘investments’ for the year (this year it was chairs for everyone!). Then, everything started to go wrong… we were sick with a couple of different things at the beginning of this month, and James took 2 days off of work because of that. We decided that he better not take another Friday off for camping. Then, I got bad news about my fasting blood sugar test for pregnancy. My fasting number was high, and I need to monitor at home while keeping a log of my diet and exercise. This has been super stressful and made me wonder if I could camp. Then, when James got home from work on Friday, we found out that less than 2 hours before, camp fires had been banned in all Washington State Parks. We cook over the fire, and consider it at least half of our camping experience! We had planned to camp less than 10 minutes away from our home, making two trips to transport our stuff. We hastily did our research and found that in the National Park we’d camped in last year we could still have camp fires. James expertly packed the Suburban absolutely full with cots, chairs, and firewood on top, and we struck out for a two hour drive, knowing that were racing the sun again. Even though it was a bit stressful, I’m so glad for planning and making it happen despite the obstacles.

We got to camp and picked out a walk-in site. It’s a bit more work to get set up that way, but once we are set up we enjoy the privacy and being separated from our vehicle. We also have some strong, hard-working kids who do an amazing job helping to carry all the stuff! We did all of our unpacking and got our tent up before dusk, but James built the fire and cooked dinner in the dark. We were exhausted and it was late before we got to sleep!

First thing in the morning, no idea how early, Liesel was awake and putting on her coat. She woke me up, and then Evolet woke up.

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Evolet and I talked about the river and bird sounds.

Slowly everyone woke up and somehow I fell back to sleep and James and the kids sneaked out to build a fire and start breakfast. My husband is amazing! He does all the camp cooking, and I just take care of serving and fixing the cold meals. The kids had a blast exploring the campground.

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We took a hike to the Visitor’s Center. Ah, air conditioned! There we were able to get some real (though not toxic) mosquito repellent. We explored and then ate a snack and headed back to camp. When we were in the trees, it was fine, but in the direct sunlight was HOT! Compared to the campsites up on the asphalt, ours down by the river was much cooler!

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We needed some ice and more firewood, and I wanted to explore Newhalem a bit. We saw the beginning of The Trail of Cedars and the train for kids to explore, but it was too hot. We took a quick excursion to play on a swing set, but then decided that we needed to leave. Everyone was overheating.

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Back at camp… more signs of the beginning of overheating. Wow it was a hot day!  James kept us drinking water and cooling off by the river. So many things to do… and we just couldn’t do them in that heat! I handed the camera to Liesel to take some pictures, and then Baird got a turn. I’m so impressed with how some of the pictures turned out! She directed the staging of the photos with my baby belly and James. You can also see Evolet having a too-tired, too-hot, don’t-want-to-wear-any-of-the-clothes-Mama-packed fit. I couldn’t have taken those pictures, but Liesel sure did a great job capturing it!

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Here is where the camera was handed off to Baird. He struggled to push the button hard enough to take the picture, and to keep his hands steady. Still he got some nice ones!

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After dinner came s’mores! Even though I couldn’t eat any, I clumsily assisted James in making them, and the kids gobbled them up!

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James took care of washing all the dishes and set up a little kitchen for us.

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In the evening, there was a sudden rush of warm wind. It was the beginning of a weather change! We put the kids to bed before dark and went to bed shortly afterward. Hot day, but still a great day!

On the last morning, we had another delicious breakfast and started taking down camp. We got our traditional family pictures on a timer. James had the idea to line us all up in our new camping chairs, but poor Shiloh got a bit covered by a branch! We were on the only camera batteries we had, so we didn’t inspect the picture well until we got home.

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All packed up and headed out! What are we going to do next year when Boots is in the 6th seat? Just one last stop for ice cream at Cascadian Farm! I went without the processed sugar and ate some delicious raspberries for Boots’ sake!

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Then, the long trip home… So glad we planned and camped despite the obstacles! Can’t wait to do it again next month!

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