Monday, June 29, 2015

Camping at Bay View State Park

This weekend marked our family's first camping trip for the year and we really couldn't have picked a better weekend or location. We went to Bay View State Park, which is just a bit more than an hour north of us in Mount Vernon. Last year, we drove waaaaaay down to Battleground, WA for a one-night camping trip and that was too much time in the car for the amount of time we spent camping. For this year, we opted to camp a bit closer to home and it really worked out nicely.

As soon as we got to the park, we were informed that because of  the hot/dry weather, anticipated winds, and possible lightning in the forecast, there was a ban on camp fires. My first thought was, "That makes sense." My second thought was, "Glad we have the camp stove." My third thought was, "So glad we bothered to haul 5 bundles of firewood up here just to bring it back home tomorrow." Oh well... minor in the big scheme of things.

We wound our way through the park to our campsite (site 47), unloaded the van, and set up camp. The site that we called home for the weekend was lovely and perfectly secluded. When we go camping, we prefer avoiding the feeling of being on display for the other people driving past us to get to their sites. (Note to selves: If we ever go back and 47 isn't available, try for lot 40.)

Setting up our campsite went quite smoothly, but also left us feeling sticky, sweaty, and hot. (It was 80 degrees and the afternoon was just getting started.) So, we donned our swimsuits and sunblock and headed to the nearby beach to splash in the Puget Sound and try our hands at flying kites... mostly hoping to have more success in the kite department than we did last summer at Seaside. We were completely shocked by how warm the water felt and very happily spent quite some time in the (murky but warm) water.

Annika enjoying the bay

Eric happily shocked by how warm the water was

Conor, our little fish

My loves

After we felt sufficiently waterlogged, we pulled out  the kites and had immediate success. The kids were thrilled with the rate at which the kites took to great heights and happily watched them dance in the sky. We were definitely not lacking in the wind department ... in fact, Annika's kite made two successful getaways. Once, she didn't maintain a strong enough grip, which lead to her kite flying over the small bluff and landing in a bit of a lagoon/protected inlet. Eric got the "Dad of the Year" award for wading out about 50 yards in waist-deep water to retrieve it. The second of our kite getaways happened when the string attached to Annika's kite snapped and whoosh - bye bye kite. This time, I clamored over the  bluff and went wading for the kite. Fortunately, the kite's tails floated, so it was easy to see exactly where I needed to go to retrieve it.

Eric and Conor getting the kite flying started

Conor at the helm

Mama and Annika post-swimming

Conor showing off his kite flying skills

Annika's portrait of Daddy and Mama
(like her finger's photobomb?)

Our pop-up shade tent was a God send... it was so windy, however,
that we had to take it down each time we weren't sitting in it

Annika and Conor working on a sand castle

Captain Annika of Kite Flight No. 1 at your service

Eventually, we were beached out and ready to head back to our campsite and start prepping dinner. Because of the campfire ban, Eric got creative (thank you, Mr. Engineer!); he removed the camp stove's legs and put the stove over the fire pit. Voila!! We had a "not breaking the rules but still feel like we have a camp fire" camp fire. (I married a brilliant man, people!!)

We cooked hot dogs over the fire and roasted marshmallows for s'mores as our dessert. How much more camping can it get??

The one drawback of not having an actual camp fire was no smoke = lots more bugs. Fortunately, we packed our citronella candles and they definitely helped keep the bugs at bay. As the kids ran around the campsite playing, Eric and I were able to play cribbage and gin rummy without too much bug interference. We'll take that as a win.

Annika enjoying her s'mores

Eric, the king of marshmallow roasting

See how pretty it is??

S'more boy

Conor and Daddy .... master marshmallow roasters

We even had wildlife encounters... this little critter was very
grateful that we dropped a few chips during snack time
Before long, it was time to hit the hay and call it a day. We were warned of a local fireworks display by our camping neighbor, so we were a bit nervous that the noise would keep us up (flashback to our Battleground camping trip... ugh!) but that wasn't the case. We did hear a few distant "pops" but nothing that was intrusively loud. Whew! 

The next morning, we awoke to another gorgeous day. I was hit with a sinus headache during the night (forgot to pack my allergy meds), but it wasn't bad enough to do too much damage to the morning. I popped some ibus and called it good. 

Eric made a lovely breakfast of pancakes (for the kids), scrambled eggs (for Eric and me), sausage, and fried potatoes (they were supposed to be for dinner but we couldn't find them in the cooler and figured we'd left them at home by accident). My man is quite the camping master chef!

After we ate, the kids ran around the campsite playing tag and blowing bubbles while Eric and I cleaned up the site and prepped for our return to civilization. The day before, I promised Conor that we could play at the big field at the end of our lane. So, we walked the 2 minutes down the road and played tag and Marco Polo for a bit. We needed to pick up Buca at his doggy hotel by noon and get the kids to the swimming pool by 2 for diving/swimming lessons, so once we burned off a bit of energy, we hopped into the van and headed back home. 

Good bye Bay View State Park. Thanks for the fun weekend.

Hello home! Hello laundry! Hello showers!

Annika and her amazing bubble hands

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