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Camping on the Little Naches
posted by John : July 26 - 29, 2012

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We're hiking!

Once upon a time there was a family that loved to camp. They planned a wonderful relaxed trip to the beach. In August, they expected somewhat decent weather. Unfortunately, so did most of the rest of the Puget Sound. As a result, there was no place to stay. That meant going to the beach would either be a series of really long day trips or not terribly feasible.

So... east. But we've done Cle Elum over and over and the purpose of this trip was to go somewhere new. Blewitt!, but not for a couple more weeks. It's supposed to be wicked warm anyway, maybe we could find something down by Rainier. (Not in Rainier, of course, not with Treen.)

Pleasant Valley looks pleasant, except the whole "infested with ants" thing. Further down the valley, though, Little Nachos. Sounds tasty.

Wait, no. Not "Little Nachos." It's "Little Naches." Not so tasty, but it turned out to be a pretty nice campground even if it was a little close to the road.

We haven't travelled light since... uh... well, forever, actually. The tent takes up half the trailer. The beds the other half. The tent is big enough for three queen size beds so you surely don't think we won't have at least one queen sized bed with us. The kids get our old Thermarests, but we have the glory of a battery powered air mattress. (Well, the pump is battery powered. It's not one of those fancy vibrating beds.)

Our philosophy for car camping can be boiled down to a few core concepts.

1) We are not roughing it. We're just hanging out in the woods.

2) We can eat anything we darn well feel like. Cheetos have no calories while camping.

3) There's nothing wrong with using two packs of baby wipes to stay civilized.

I have a requirement that we go hiking on trips like this so off we went.

Many years ago we had camped down here somewhere and gone to a cave. Caves aren't something the kids are used to so it seemed a good way to scare the bejeezus out of them. The hike in wasn't too hard, though it wasn't fast. Too many little feet and too many potty breaks for us to make great time. Still, the cave was just around the corner.

I remembered it as more of a very short passage. More like going under an overpass than going through a tunnel. Good thing I always carry extra stuff like headlamps. Also handy that my phone has a light. And that Treen can see in the dark. It was definitely more of a tunnel. A longish tunnel with a very uneven floor and a creek running through the middle of it. We looked and looked for bats, but no luck. Bummer.

Back at the camp, we watched as Daryl made terrible culinary choices, the kids decided to subsist entirely on Skittles, and the dog got dirtier and dirtier. (The kids also got really dirty, but remember the bit about baby wipes? Problem solved.)

There was also the river (the Little Naches, of course) and a store down the road that served ice cream. We played a game of hot and cold with the kids that went like this: I'd hide one of the walkie talkies somewhere in the campground. Then they'd take two of them and start looking. I'd sit by the fire and tell them which way they needed to go. It kept them busy and let me lounge. Perfect.

Maybe we can abstract this last game and add it to our core concepts. Something like "There's nothing wrong with sitting by the fire and making the kids run around." Yeah. I like that.

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