First Annual Family Camping Trip
As I mentioned in my last post, we went on our first annual family camping trip last weekend, at Dungeness Spit on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. This was Arlo's first camping trip, and it went well, all things considered. Here he is helping Patrick test-drive the tent in our backyard (we got a new family-sized tent for this trip).
Patrick did the majority of planning (and all of the cooking) for our trip, which was great. Since many of the campgrounds on the peninsula don't take reservations, we just drove up there, with a list of fall-back campgrounds in case Dungeness Spit was full. When we got there on Thursday afternoon, there were plenty of campsites open, though I think it filled up by evening (but many of the campers left on Friday morning, so I think if we'd gotten there early on Friday afternoon, we could have found a site as well).
We set up camp at site #13, which was pretty removed from the road and had a nice amount of late afternoon sun. It was a generously sized campsite, with room for a couple of medium-size tents in addition to our big tent (maybe we'll have to bring along some friends or family on our second annual camping trip!). The campground was really nice--there were plenty of trees and bushes between campsites, bathrooms with showers, and a bluff with beautiful views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Dungeness Spit just a few steps from the campsites. My only complaint was the chilly weather.
I quickly realized that I hadn't packed enough warm clothes for our camping trip (it's the middle of July--why would I need long pants?). Luckily, Arlo was too busy crawling around the campsite to be cold. I had been worried that he would spend the whole time eating gravel, and he did get a few handfuls of it in his mouth, but he pretty quickly figured out that rocks weren't for eating.
After a nice camp stove dinner of bean and brown rice burritos, Arlo had an al fresco potty sit, and then we put him to bed (in his little Peapod tent inside our big tent). He cried for a while at his strange bedtime surroundings, but he eventually went to sleep.
After Arlo was in bed, Patrick built a fire, and we sat next to it and talked until it was dark. It was nice :) Our first night's sleep was not so nice, because of the aforementioned cold weather. Our summer sleeping bags just weren't up to the task, and I spent the whole night curled up in a little ball, trying to get warm. Arlo was in his sleep sack, and he did just fine. He only woke up once that first night, and he went back to sleep after Patrick covered him with another blanket.
I was in a bad mood that morning--cold, tired, and hungry. It was hard being patient with Arlo. Things looked up after we ate our oatmeal and the sun came out. After Arlo's first nap, we drove to Port Angeles and found a nice outdoor store, where I bought a pair of pants and Patrick got some long underwear. We also got some donuts from a little shop across the street. The trip got a lot better after that :)
Next, we went to Storm King ranger station and took an easy hike to Marymere Falls. We had a little picnic at the top of the trail, which was nice. Ten minutes later, a family of about 20 people (headed by a recorder-playing grandfather) also stopped for a picnic. It was a little crowded, so we packed up and headed back to our car.
Arlo took a quick second nap in the car on the way back to our campground, and then we hiked down to see the Dungeness Spit (it was a 15-minute walk from our site, with a $3 entry fee). The spit was beautiful, littered with driftwood. This was Arlo's first time at a beach, and he seemed to enjoy it. We should take him to another beach before the summer is over!
Patrick made chili over the campfire for dinner, and then we had s'mores and tea after Arlo went to bed. The second night, we slept much better because we were warm enough. Arlo woke up a couple times, but he went back to sleep pretty easily.
It was foggy and damp the next morning, and Patrick wasn't able to get a campfire going, much to his frustration. Luckily, we had our trusty camp stove, and he was able to make our breakfast burritos on that (yum!). After Arlo's first nap, we packed up camp and headed home. We stopped in Hoodsport and had an impromptu picnic lunch on the grass in front of their library, and then got some yummy salted caramel swirl ice cream at Olympic Mountain Ice Cream.
Driving for 5 hours to get home after camping for 2 days wasn't great; it would be nice if we could find a camping spot closer to home for next year's trip (we should really go on more camping trips near Portland; Beverly Beach is the only place we've camped at since moving here). On the other hand, Dungeness Spit and the surrounding areas were beautiful, and I'd be happy to camp there again. I'm excited for next year's trip because Arlo should have fewer nap/bedtime constraints, so we can spend more time exploring!
P.S. Today is my 10-year blogging anniversary. Crazy! I sometimes feel sheepish about the naive things my younger self wrote, but it's nice to have a record of the past ten years to read when I'm feeling nostalgic.