One day I will calculate the cubic space required for us to go camping. Then I'll shudder and banish that number from my head forever. We had our truck, our trailer (piled high above the walls), and Michelle and Daryl's Subaru and it still felt like a squeeze. After all, there were nine of us humans and two dog-like creatures. That meant two (big) tents, three coolers, five bikes, and more sleeping bags, air mattresses, and clothes than should ever be assembled outside REI.
Super Mommy Amy got it all packed up and out the door Thursday morning with Michelle and the herd of kids helping. Daryl and I followed with Tokul after a tasty BBQ dinner. We were all settled in the last available spot at Salmon La Sac by 9:30.
Friday morning we woke to perfect blue skies and decided a hike would be just the thing. We had a great time (or at least I did) at Thorp Lake just a few miles of driving from the campground.
Although we'd had a relatively traditional lunch on the hike we kicked into gourmet mode for the next few meals. Imagine a beef stew with all manner of goodness thrown in just like a wagonmaster would. Imagine steaks and prawns and baked potatoes. (Ok, skip the prawns if you're like me, but the steak was tasty.) Imagine endless bags of chips and little candies just perfect for rewarding a certain little boy who peed in the woods for the first time. (No, not me.) Imagine breakfasts full of bacon and sausage and pancakes. Imagine the gastrointestinal distress that was looming just around the corner. Good stuff. (Needless to say, my involvement was very limited or we'd have been dining non-stop on Mountain House.)
After dinner I tried to take Henry to bed, but failed miserably. Amy reports that she could hear me snoring away while Henry chatted away and allegedly tried to wake me up. I was, as they say, the life of the party.
Saturday morning we watched the kids practice riding their bikes up and down the street (and around the 0.9 mile loop a couple of times) before it was declared to be River Day. Daryl and I scouted a route to the Cooper River behind the camp site and found that the way there was not much fun, the way back was better, and subsequent trips would get better and better until we found the actual trail that led right to the river.
Henry needed a nap badly so while everyone else headed to the water I zipped Henry into the tent (without even bothering with the Pack-n-Play, which has really, truly reached the end of its useful life) and settled onto a lounge chair to catch a nap myself. Except he didn't want to nap. He wanted to scream. However, after half an hour he finally did fall asleep wedged between a sleeping pad and the side of the tent. I, on the other hand, couldn't get to sleep because no matter where I put my chair the sun and the bugs found me. I finally gave in to the sun, but continued battling the bugs until Henry woke up about two hours later.
We joined everyone else at the river where they were cool and relaxed. Daryl and built a number of Shadles (balanced rock cairn-like things), the kids were busy collecting cool rocks and pouring water on their heads, and Amy and Michelle were reveling in the warm weather. Henry dove right in (almost literally) and we played for another hour before heading back for more biking and eating.
Sunday, unfortunately, was all about packing up and heading home. It only took three hours to break camp so we got to Cle Elum just in time for lunch at the worst-run Burger King EVAR. I wish the kids liked Taco Del Mar. Nonetheless, all fed we sped home in time to get kids down for naps and get unpacked in time to retrieve my car at the shop.
These three nights set a new record for me in terms of annual nights in a tent. First there was Mission Peak back in March. Then Esmerelda Basin in July and two nights on Mt. Adams. Add these three for a total of seven (plus one more planned for September) and I have a laudable goal to beat for next year.