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Deception Pass Camp
posted by John : August 20-22, 2010

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We don't do "light"

Each year we look for a place to go "camping." Really, we're looking for a place to live out of the back of the car, or more specifically, the trailer. Car camping means sleeping in the tent, but is really just an excuse to eat a bunch of food we'd never eat at home (um... three BIG bags of chips in one weekend?) and sit around the fire. Usually we go to somewhere warm (aka: Salmon La Sac), but this year we wanted a challenge. Could we camp near the water (of the salty variety) and not have anyone drown?

So pack up the truck, pack up the trailer (we don't do ultralight), and hit the road heading west. (I know, blasphemy!) But wait, what's this backup a mere 10 miles from home? Must be just Highway 18 truck traffic. No... no... seems to be more than that. Helicopters circling (and not the usual black ones that don't make noise), what could it be? I don't know, but Henry, in the midst of potty training, needed to go. Uh... Amy helped him use the median and hardly had to run to catch up. Turns out there was an RV that had caught fire and burned to the ground. One lane was open. By the time we passed it (45 minutes later) everyone needed a potty so we pretty much reset at Preston and tried again. This time we had better luck with traffic.

Only eight hours later (ha! I kid, it was only seven hours) we pulled into Deception Pass State Park. Ooh... mountainy! But where are the mountains? I've been tricked! Hoodwinked! Bamboozled! There are no mountains here. It's a water passage. It's gonna be a long weekend. We set up the Taj Mahal (you remember, the three room tent that leaks like a sieve) and got a fire going. Even though we were right off Highway 20 and just outside the Whidbey Island Naval Airbase it was pretty peaceful. Except the kids. Darn kids!

Daryl and Michelle are up to three kids now, including new daughter Ava imported from China just a short while ago. Our six monkeys ran around, rode bikes, and threatened to fall in the fire whenever we weren't looking. Did I mention it was going to be a long weekend?

The next morning came with mostly clouds, but a few bits of blue. After breakfast I conned the kids (well, most of them) into a "short" walk to West Beach with promises of awesome beachiness. Clearly, they were thinking Hawaii while I was thinking "It's gonna be cold." When we got to the beach it was rocky and completely socked in. No views to be had and the tide was high. Spirits were low until I pointed out you could throw a million rocks into the water and never run out of rocks. I am brilliant. I had to tear them away with the promise of lunch back at camp.

Lunch, then another hike. Hmm... maybe life without mountain isn't so bad after all... This time we crossed the Deception Pass Bridge (Oh, wow, that's high!) and found the trailhead at Bowman Bay. The walk along the shore was easy with fog swirling through the bay. We saw a heron in a tree, passed an ideal spot for family pictures (ruined by a Yankees hat on an unnamed mother of three that isn't Amy) and past a sign that read, "Falling can be deadly."

It's interesting the different reactions people have to such a sign. I thought, "Well, duh. We'd best be careful." Amy thought, "Somebody's going to die!" Daryl thought, "I bet we can sue someone if we fall." (He's a lawyer, after all.) And Michelle thought, "Mmm... Jeter." Nobody thought, "Maybe this isn't the best plan with six kids and a dog."

Over the headland we descended down to a neck before crossing onto Reservation Head. A quick jaunt through the woods and we were looking out to the Straight of Juan de Fuca (hehehehehe) and marveling at the red-barked madrona trees that only seem to be on the sea-facing side of the hills. We got a great shot of the kids in a tree, but then Henry fell out of the tree and we headed back. (No, this is nothing out of the ordinary.) On the way back I found the lowest benchmark (a metal marker set in concrete typically by the USGS) EVAR! Only seven feet above sea level! Then Amy found the lowest benchmark EVAR besting my lowest benchmark EVAR by a few lousy inches.

Dinner, bikes, crashes, chasing a poor bunny, lots of runs to the very well-maintained potties, and a fire. Always the fire.

Sunday morning came with even better skies than Saturday and once we were all packed I again convinced the kiddos and even the adults to head out for a walk, but this time to North Beach around the point from West Beach. North Beach was much more fun. Same beach style, but with more rocks for the climbing. And climbing it was! Much climbing. Clara and Lex were uncontrollable. Lilly didn't seem too interested, but Henry was scrambling in all sorts of places he shouldn't have. Jack did a little, and Ava hung out with Michelle. We wandered down the beach a ways, but then turned back so we could get home at a decent hour.

Daryl had come after work so they had two cars. We manly men wound up driving our SUVs/minivans while the girls headed off for some shopping. I was grateful the traffic was nothing like Friday's adventure. In fact, we only had time to watch a single movie. That, in the opinion of the kids, was perhaps the biggest problem of the whole trip.

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