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Outdoors

Deception Pass Camping

Last weekend was our second camping trip of the summer. I was a little nervous going into the weekend because it looked a bit wet, but if it had to rain, it worked out perfectly. It rained Friday night but didn’t start until around 10:30pm and stopped before we got up. It was wet when we woke up Sunday morning too, but other than giving us a messy tent to clean when we got home, it didn’t impact our plans at all.

This was a pre-COVID-planned trip with Tim, Chelsea and the girls. It’s hard to believe that it has been over 9 years since our last camping trip with them! Our two families have added three kids since then.

Since then, Tim and Chelsea’s have also added a fantastic new camper. We’re still rocking the Cabela’s tent but it was good to us yet again. It rained quite a bit on Friday night but we stayed dry. 5 stars. Would recommend. I also recommend camping in a site next to someone with a camper. Ha!

We headed to the beach early on Saturday and then left when it started getting too busy for our liking. We spent the rest of the time talking by the fire and enjoying delicious food.

Camping can be a lot of work, but I’m so thankful for these trips. It feels like a responsible way to stay within the current guidelines, socialize with a small group outside, and get away from the house. We’re already thinking about what to book for next year and wishing we had more land to park a camper on.

Seaquest State Park Camping

Getting a couple camp site reservations at a state park in Washington generally requires booking very far in advance, so late last year, we booked two sites for a camping trip with Tyla’s family.

Fast forward to now and, well, COVID. Don is still quarantining out of state. We talked about canceling the trip but we were all jonesing for some time away from our houses so we went for it as planned.

The campsites were at Seaquest State Park which is on the road to the northwest corner of Mt. St. Helens. The main observatory there is closed but we were able to do a hike up in that area and get some great views of the mountain on a clear day. We also spent some time down by the river at a nice spot called Harry Gardner Park.

It was different just having Logan and Megan there without Don and we missed him, but I think we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The weather was perfect and the park was really nice. I had been there before but had forgotten many things about it. Elijah had a blast riding his bike around and driving his remote controlled car. Since we had planned to have a camper there, one of the sites had electric and water hookup so he was able to recharge the car.

There had been some concern before the trip about how busy the bathrooms would be or what the rules would be for distancing. I don’t know about the other bathrooms, but the one we chose to use was always empty. I was never in there when anyone else was there so that worked out nicely.

We have one more pre-planned camping trip this year and I’m already looking forward to the break. It’s so nice to see something other than our house!

Heybrook Lookout

Tyla and I hiked up to the Heybrook Lookout fire tower back in 2009. This past Saturday, I got to do it again but this time it was with Elijah.

Earlier in the week I had given him a choice of a waterfall or a fire tower. The fire tower was a two mile round trip with almost 1000 feet of elevation gain so I knew it would be a stretch but he could do it with a good attitude. So all week I pumped him up by talking about going on an adventure to a secret tower in the woods. I later realized that he wasn’t very excited so I asked him why… turns out the idea of a secret tower in the woods sounds a little scary to a 6 year old.

With that mistake rectified, and after waiting for some morning rain to clear out, we hit the trailhead around noon. He was getting pretty tired by the time we neared the top but his pace was good. We passed a few groups and never got passed ourselves. He made it up in 55 minutes. We climbed to the observation deck of the tower but it was pretty chilly in the wind with our sweaty shirts so we snapped a few photos and went back down to eat lunch on the picnic tables.

The trip down took about 40 minutes which felt slow. Going up was easier for him because there were some pretty big wet rocks to climb back down and that’s tricky when you’re only 3.5 feet tall. We stopped at DQ in Monroe on the way back to celebrate our adventure. The trip was a total success!

Lake Wenatchee State Park

Back in 2011, Tyla and I went to a sled dog race near Lake Wenatchee with Tim and Chelsea. That’s the only time I’ve been near Lake Wenatchee State Park, but a couple weekends ago, we went back with Elijah and Tyla’s family to camp at the state park.

As the name implies, Lake Wenatchee State Park sits right on the lake. We booked pretty late (only seven months in advance!) so we got the runt of the litter for campsites but they ended up being pretty nice. We were warned in advance about bugs by numerous internet reviews but thankfully we hardly saw any.

This was our first camping trip trying to sleep on cots instead of air mattresses. Tim and Chelsea loaned us two normal sized cots and I bought an ogre sized cot for myself. I think we might add a thin pad or air mattress on top of them in the future but they worked great! They take up the same space as our air mattresses did but it opens up all the space below the cots for our bags so it is a lot easier to navigate the tent.

Crystal Hike

Last year around this time, we tried to go on a hike at Crystal Mountain with Tyla’s family. That was canceled because of some really bad wildfires that got very close to the resort. We decided to give it another shot recently and it went much better.

The day started off cloudy so we just caught glimpses of Rainier off the top of the gondola, but it was nice to not be in direct sunlight for the first part of the hike. We took the Crystal Mountain trail which comes off the top of the gondola, across Lucky Shot and over the top of Bear Pits, under Forest Queen, out past the Queens and Tinkerbell runs into the woods to a couple lakes, and finally past the old mine and under the Gold Hills lift. The trail map claims it’s 4.8 miles but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a tad longer than that.

The hike is all downhill so I figured Elijah would handle it ok, but I forgot that it’s a bit too technical for him. There was a lot of loose gravel at the beginning and then the second half had some big roots. Thankfully he did incredibly well and only started getting tired on the last mile or so. I did have to carry him for a while but I still give him an A for the day.

It wasn’t a super photogenic day due to the clouds at the beginning but here are a few photos from the day. Be sure to look at the upper ridge in the last picture. You can see how far down the slope the fire got last year. It was VERY close to the resort!