Fall Stopped by for Labor Day

13 09 2009

This year, we took our 2nd annual camping trip with some friends just east of Mt. Rainier. Most of you know our summer has been a very hot one and intensely dry. Well, we tried to make up for it with downpours, wind, and cold temperatures. We woke up on Saturday morning to discover our tent took on water, which is always fun. Fortunately, for all of us, our campsite offered a pavilion that had two picnic tables and a stone fireplace in it. It sat right along the Bumping River and only a few holes in the moss covered roof. Perfect! We woke up and made breakfast in the pavilion, and spent almost the whole day in there!

The rain let up for a little bit during the afternoon on Saturday, so we ventured out for a little hike to Soda Springs (campsite’s namesake).

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the trail along bumping river to soda springs

It’s a natural sulfur spring that bubbles up cold, not warm water. It’s not very attractive, but it’s also kind of cool. Mountain springs always interest me.

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soda springs

You can see below the pavilion where we spent most of the weekend. It was kind of nice, sitting by a fire with a book or magazine in the outdoors. Just a little chilly ūüôā

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pavilion party

Kate and Ciara decided to see if there was more of a hike across the river.

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kate and ciara on the bridge

That evening, Scott & Alan went back out hunting before the sun set and we stayed in the pavilion playing games and reading.

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playing games by lantern light

That night the fog really started coming in thick. It made the full moon look eerie and cool.

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full moon and fog

It rained really hard again all night, Saturday night. So we decided to just hit the road on Sunday morning. We all snacked, packed up camp and made our way to the closest town for a warm breakfast. It was a fun trip, but fall was letting us know she was on her way!

I did manage to grab a picture of the railroad tie bridge across the river to the springs before we jetted out of town. The campsite grounds are really beautiful!

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bridge over cold waters

As I type this, the weekend AFTER labor day, we had record temps of 85¬į this weekend and it’s absolutely perfect weather. Sunny, breezy, warm during the day perfect at night. Summer’s not giving up on us quite yet. My tomatoes thank you, summer.





Camping: Rasar State Park

22 06 2009

Well, Seattle went 30 days with no rain. It’s been per.fect. Just amazing weather for May & June. Which means we are in for a killer late June and potentially agonizing early July. What did the Lpod decide to do? Well, we decided if we booked a camping trip the rains would come back. We were right!

We found a camp site just north of Seattle on the Skagit River at Rasar State Park, which is home to hundreds of bald eagles in the winter months. For reference, the Skagit Valley is where the tulip fields are in April!

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scott dreaming about his wishful dinner

On Saturday morning we made a yummy breakfast with coffee (I am married to Scott, the coffee master) and then went for a walk around the 3 mile loop around the campground. Much of the trail wraps around the Skagit River. We found a beach and hung out for a short while deciding what else we would do during the day.

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beach on the skagit river

The rest of the campground is surrounded by “hay fields” which were first logging territory turned farmland turned state park. Mixed in each of these fields are fun volleyball courts and picnic grounds.

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farm house on the skirt of the camp ground

Scott decided that since the weather was scheduled to turn (toward rain) that afternoon, it would be a perfect chance to try to catch a trout for dinner. The weather didn’t change, he caught some logs and enjoyed casting. I read and relaxed in the shade. Perfect relaxation.

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relaxing by the river side

Back to the campsite, Scott got the fire going and I started in on dinner. I made grilled andouille sausages over a bed of sauteed chard and goat cheese polenta. Yeah, go ahead and laugh at me. I like cooking, okay?

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chard and polenta cooking away

The finished dinner by the campfire was delicious. If you didn’t laugh at me, I’ll invite you camping with us next time.

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stop laughing at me

Sunday morning we woke up to rain so we made a quick breakfast, broke camp, and headed out on to the North Cascades Scenic Highway. Oh, dear. This is by far the most spectacular drive I’ve seen to date. The views are unbelievable. It’s a pretty short stretch of highway that is open only a few months out of the year. I HIGHLY recommend everyone make this drive some time in their life. Breathtaking. And only about 1.5-2 hours from our front door.

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the early part of north cascades national park

The rocks in the picture below¬†just looked fake to us. The pictures really don’t capture just how clear the water was and smooth…almost silky…the rocks looked.

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silky granite

I loved all of the moss and mysterious fog.

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look how clear the water is below

We stopped off to check out a dam along the Skagit. Maybe this one was the Ross Dam?

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forgot to write down where i was, it was too cold for chacos

Many of the peaks were still snow capped – and many of them getting snow while we visited. It was chilly!

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peak shrouded in clouds

My favorite view point of the drive was at the Ross Lake overlook. The color of the water was a crystal clear aqua blue. So beautiful. Scott decided our next camping trip would be on that island. I protested, how would we get the stove there for me to cook gourmet campfire meals?

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my favorite view point - ross lake

We met some new friends. One of them is a little spike.

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our friend spike and his lady friend

Sometimes I couldn’t tell if I was looking at a river or a lake, but all of it was either a clear aqua or a shimmery green (cloudy from the glacier silt). It was really hard to stop posting pictures. I hope you caught a glimmer of what the park is like!

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the long and windy river...

All in all, it was a very peaceful weekend…especially since for most of the trip the cell phone worked and I could keep getting and giving updates on the sweet little princess Piper. Welcome to our world little girl. Cannot wait to come meet you!





Camping: Dungeness Spit

8 09 2008

Two weekends in a row? Camping? ME???

Yeah, we went two weekends in a row. We decided that our chances for getting back out this year were slim to none and the forecast called for two consecutive, perfect September days on a weekend. You really can’t pass that up.

This time we headed out to the Olympic Peninsula to a spot in between Port Angeles and Sequim called Dungeness Spit Recreation Area. Dungeness Spit is the country’s longest natural sand spit –¬†out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, facing Vancouver Island. “What is a spit?” you ask? Well, it’s really just a beach out in the middle of the water. This one extends 5.5 miles out, with a lighthouse at the very end. At it’s widest it is only 100 meters wide. This one in particular is home to over 200 species of birds,¬†and has¬†been deemed a National Wildlife Refuge.

Here is a view of the spit (you can kind of see it at the end of the bluff toward the top of the picture). This bluff is behind our campsite. It was fantastic to listen to the ocean while sleeping. On Saturday morning the fog was really heavy and you could hear the fog horn every few minutes.

We went with Cara & Clint this weekend. Here is a nice family photo!

Saturday afternoon we drove into Olympic National Park to have a picnic at Lake Crescent. This lake really never gets boring to me. It’s so stunning when you turn the corner on Hwy 101. It’s a glacier carved, crystal clear lake with mountains just popping right out of it. Best.picnic.ever.

We got back to the campsite in time to relax a little bit before starting dinner.  There was a beautiful sunset over the Strait. We all missed it, except Clint, who was walking the dogs right at the time the sun dropped into the ocean.

We had a fantastic dinner and then visited by the campfire to make smores and such. Sophia was so engrossed in watching the embers from the fire going into the sky.

Sunday morning we decided to hike out onto the spit. Here is a picture of a viewpoint before the 1/2 mile trail down to the beach. You can see how the spit curves around to the east.

Goofing around on the beach…

It was so clear we could see Mt. Baker in the distance. The lighthouse is just under the mountain.

We had an awesome weekend, once again!





Camping: Wenatchee National Forest

8 09 2008

Braving the¬†Labor Day weekend¬†crowds at campgrounds is not generally my idea of a relaxing 3-day weekend, but didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to go camping with some friends to wrap up the summer. This trip was no exception to my general rule, but not because of the crazy crowds or loud campgrounds…

We drove out to Wenatchee National Forest (just east of Mt. Rainier National Park) on Friday and were lucky to spot the last available camp ground with enough space for two tents. The sun went down pretty quickly after getting there, so we set up camp and made a quick dinner. It was a coooooold night, so we woke up and made a fire to warm up over breakfast.

Apparently the fire wasn’t raging enough – we ladies were really chilled. Scott wanted to make sure there was enough small pieces of wood to flare up and catch the larger logs. In the process of breaking up an old dead tree, a piece of one lodged itself in Scott’s calf. Ew. (I know, you are¬†scrolling back up, looking at that picture saying “why would he wear shorts when everyone else was so cold?” My thoughts exactly. Sigh.) The best part is the girls spotted it – he never felt it. Even when we were at the doctor’s office. The tetanus shot was more painful than the having a hole cut in his leg. Odd.

We tugged around on it and had no luck getting it out. We drove all over eastern washington – coming upon a town called Naches hoping a clinic of some sort might be open to help us get it out. No go. We got directions to a Yakima (70 miles from the campsite) emergency clinic.

I wasn’t going to take pictures, but in sharing text messages with mom about all of this, I share this exchange with my dad over text messaging:

Dad: SEND PICS!!
Kim: Uh, Scott says no pics.
Dad: What about the blog??

That made me laugh so hard while the dr was trying to extract a tree from my husband’s leg. I was quite the disruption. For the sake of the blog, we have some lovely photos.

The culprit is below. Thankfully it didn’t get too infected and all was fine. He had to leave an open wound for a few days to make sure nothing else was in there, but all in all, it just took up his day of fishing and my day of curling up next to a fire with a book. And hey, on the way back we stopped at a farm stand and got an awesome watermelon for $1.99.

When we got back to the campsite we went over to the river to hang out. I was a little nervous to let him walk on the log. We survived ūüôā

Saturday night fire. Our friends Kate & Alan (and Lupe). Alan is a friend of Scott’s from high school who lives up here! Kate is Alan’s wife’s sister who just moved up to Seattle from LA to begin a grad school program at UW. Lupe is Alan & Ciara’s pup – who was quite the trooper.

On the way home, we drove through Mt. Rainier National Park. It snowed!! Brr. Thankfully, when we got back into Seattle, it was sunny and warm. The below picture is of the snow (looks like rain, I know) at the entrance to MRNP.





Some More Camping Weekend Pictures

2 07 2008

Just some nice scenery shots. And then some shots of the rivers. WOW! The Cascades had 3 times the normal snowfall this year, and the rivers are certainly telling that story. They are just RAGING. Enjoy!





Roughing It

30 06 2008

                                                              

We saw the forecast for a record breaking hot weekend, thought about the lack of air conditioning in our south facing house and decided to pack up and head to the mountains for some of nature’s air conditioning. We stayed on a river up in the North Cascades where it stayed nice and cool. The catch? No running water. Oh well, I can make it work.

There was a pump for well water, which could have been fed by the river:

 Camping quesadillas. One of our favorite camping meals.

¬†We also journeyed a little further east to the town of Leavenworth for a day trip. Leavenworth is a “Bavarian Village” that has no roots or history of actually being Bavarian. It’s cute though!

They require all new businesses to have signs in the same font. I thought it was very entertaining that I could travel to Norway and see a Starbucks logo in the same font¬†as our stores all over the US, but in this little fake Bavarian town, they were required to change their logo. It’s kind of like Disneyland.

Back at the campsite, we invented a new dessert. We halved a white nectarine, stuffed the pit hole with a wedge of cheese, closed it back up, wrapped it in foil and tossed it into the coals. It was delicious! If we had brought a little bit of honey, it would have been perfect. It may not look so pretty below, but it tasted deeee-lish!

There are more pictures somewhere, but I can’t find them now…some good ones of the RAGING rivers (we had 3 times the normal snowfall this year) and the mountains. Hopefully I’ll post later this week!