Monday, July 27, 2015

Scenic Beach State Park Camping Trip

This past weekend was our second installment of 2015 camping trips with the kids. This time, we headed northwest to Seabeck (near Hood Canal) to Scenic Beach State Park. The kids loved our last trip, so anxiously counted down to this one.

Conor was rarin' to go camping as soon as he woke up!
(Like his mis-matched PJs?? So do I!)

The drive was a bit longer than the trip we took last month, but it went really smoothly. We stopped in Tacoma to drop off Buca for his overnight stay at "Hotel Nana" and have some lunch. That stop and a chance to stretch our legs helped break up the drive time quite a bit.

Before we left home, we kept an eye on the weather. After months of little to no rain, the forecast for our weekend in the woods was supposed to be wet to some degree. So, as soon as we got to our site, Eric and I got to work on setting up a rain canopy using ropes and a big tarp, so we'd be covered (literally and figuratively) in case the predicted rain actually arrived. Being married to an engineer comes in REALLY handy in times like these, let me tell you!!

Our weekend home, complete with rain shelter

What happens when our kids are bored while camping ... one uses citronella
candles for heat and the other waits use the "fly swapper" on any invaders.

As we drove through the park to our site, we noticed a small playground, which made the kids really happy. The fact that it was about a 1 minute walk from our site was the icing on the cake! Easy play time. Someone was really thinking when they designed this camping area. On behalf of campers with kids, thank you!

The kids started getting antsy (and bored), so I wound up ushering them down to the play area while Eric tackled setting up the rest of the campsite. Fortunately, our tent is fairly easy to set up, so leaving him to handle it solo didn't riddle me with (much) spouse guilt. While Conor made a bee line for the slide, Annika headed straight for the tire swing. Her squeals of glee quickly caught Conor's attention and the two happily played on the swing for quite awhile. It was so long, in fact, that Conor couldn't stand up after he got off of the tire... waaaay too dizzy. He stumbled and toppled over so much that he looked like he'd been hitting the bars all night long.

Our two cutie pies

This was tricky to get because the swing kept turning
them away from me.... and then all of us got the giggles!


video

When the kids were spun/played out, we returned to our site to see that Eric had finished setting up our temporary home with skill. We parked ourselves at the table under the rain shelter and played a few rousing rounds of Crazy Eight. (Yeah, we are party animals when we camp!). After a bit, the wiggles kicked in, so we headed back to the play area for a game of family frisbee. I have to say, our kids are really starting to hold their own in the frisbee department! Their aim and ability to catch the frisbee is becoming quite impressive... especially if you take into account they were often standing on a stump or bench while performing these acts. 

Before long, it was time to roast hot dogs over the fire and enjoy an easy-to-clean-up-after camping dinner. We still have a statewide burn ban, so no fires just like before. No problem! Eric replicated his brilliant idea of using the camp stove as a make shift camp fire just like he did last month. Easy and effective! (And park ranger approved!). 

Roasting a hot dog and taking photos of the kids ...
it's all about the multi-tasking!

Happy campers

No clue what she's doing in this one, but I find it really funny nonetheless
Here's Eric taking the goofy pic of Annika above:)

How ya get the campfire experience when there's a burn ban in effect
She actually is having fun... the fire just mesmerized her
... and him, for that matter!

Conor's silly camping face
 Our fatal flaw of the trip was neglecting to actually pack marshmallows so we could make s'mores. (WHOOPS - parenting fail). Fortunately, the night before we left, I made oatmeal s'more bars as a stick-in treat and am so grateful that I did! The kids got to enjoy the flavors of s'mores, even though their slacker parents forgot the marshmallows at home.

Our propane campfire

As we were sitting around the fireless fire pit, we started feeling a few raindrops plop down on us. Then a few more ... before long, it was raining... not sprinkling or drizzling... I'm talking RAIN. Our area has been starved for water, so this rain felt (and smelled ) so good to us. Plus, because we planned ahead, we were able to seek shelter under the tarp and stay dry.

Soggy in Seabeck

The kids started to feel a bit cold once the rain started making the night air damp feeling, so after some teeth brushing and hand washing, they headed into the tent to seek shelter (and rest) in their sleeping bags. Eric and I pulled out the playing cards and played a few hands of gin rummy. Eric proved to be quite the adversary and completely kicked my butt in just about every game of cards that we played. It was his weekend in terms of gin rummy, that's for sure! (Maybe that was the card gods' way of rewarding him for working so hard getting our camp set up!).

When we hunkered down for the night, I happened to feel the tent floor and there was so much water under us that it made the camp's base fee like it was filled with gel. I got a bit nervous about how dry we'd stay, but knew we couldn't do much about it at that point.

The next morning, we awoke to the sounds of birds chirping, squawking, and quacking merrily. They probably loved the rain just as much as the trees and shrubs did! Conor, however, was a bit disappointed that there weren't more puddles to jump in. (So glad we thought ahead and brought the kids' rain boots ... and regretted not bringing mine!) Considering how wet everything already was, not having wet "I just jumped in puddles" clothes on the kids wasn't a miss in my book.

We enjoyed our casual/traditional camping breakfast (eggs, sausage, "Papa pancakes" aka buttermilk pancakes) and then got to work tearing down our campsite. Fortunately, the rain stopped at some point during the night, so packing up (while muddy and wet) was much easier than it would have been had the rain not moved along. Eric and I were quite glad to have a plethora of Hefty bags in our camping kit; it made getting the wet tarps, tent rain fly (which worked like a champ, thank goodness!), clothes, boots, etc. home easier and preserved the inside of my van!

Before long, we were pulling up to my mom's house to gather Buca and then made our way back home. Annika had diving lessons at 2, so we were definitely working with a schedule in mind. Fortunately, our planning panned out and we were able to get home in time for us to unpack the van, put the extra camping food away (aside from the bread and hot dog buns, which Buca helped himself to while we were at swim lessons), get the kids into their swim suits, and make it to the pool right on time.

Another fun (and tiring) weekend in the history books. :)

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