Monday, September 14, 2015

Final 2015 Family Camping Trip: Ft. Flagler

Simply put, we had a fantastic weekend!

Because stopping there would be a pretty darned boring blog post, I'll go into a bit more detail about our lovely trip to Ft. Flagler State Park. :)

This was our first two-night camping trip with the kiddos and it was a marvelous start to longer family camping trips. This trip required a ferry ride and, those who are familiar with the WA State Ferry system, Friday afternoons/evenings are the worst day/time to try to get on a ferry. Now, ask me when we needed to be on a ferry. YUP! Friday afternoon. We got the kids as soon as they got out of school and high-tailed it up to the Edmonds ferry dock. We didn't make it on our "pie in the sky" ferry, but did make the next one, which was the one we knew was our more realistic option. We planned ahead and had a change of clothes for the kids and had sandwiches from Subway for dinner. Easy!

After a 1/2-hour ferry ride, we were back on the road, winding our way up over the Hood Canal Bridge and eventually arriving at Ft. Flagler State Park. We got there a little after 6 PM, so there was still plenty of light to set up camp and get settled in for the weekend. Eric, genius that he is, packed our little cheapy badminton racket/birdie set, which kept the kids happily entertained while he and I got our camp ready. The only downfall was our site seemed to be surrounded by stinging nettles, which made retrieving the stray birdie a bit of a painful experience at times.

Once the sun went down, we crowded around our campfire (YES! The summer's burn ban was lifted and we got a real, honest-to-God wood fire! Eric and I were positively giddy when we read that the ban was lifted!) and roasted s'mores and looked at the stars. After the kids settled down in their sleeping bags for the night, Eric and I were entertained by a couple of shrews that bravely checked out our site and chewed on the little scraps of wood by our fire pit. Those little things are FAST and sort of hop more than walk. (Yes, our expectations for entertainment really do go down out in the wild.) 

Our Saturday morning was filled with climbing logs, exploring the camp grounds (and scoping out which lots looked like ones we'd want to reserve in the future), more badminton, and doing leaf rubbings. The previous night wasn't 100% restful thanks to some noisy coyotes in the area, so a slow start to the day was quite ideal.

Conor: King of the Log

Mama's camping buddies

Flying Annika

Conor working on his leaf rubbings

Annika and Eric: A mighty cute leaf-rubbing team

Ta Da!
 Once our morning coffee kicked in, we packed up and headed toward Pt. Townsend. On our way out of the park, however, we decided to stop at the bunkers to peek around a bit and see what was to be seen. Eric and I are both history buffs, so stuff like this is right up our alley! The kids had a great time climbing in and out of the open (low) windows and looking in the various rooms. Someone (very wisely) at some point marked what the various rooms were used for, so we knew which rooms were used to store the powder kegs, which were the latrines, etc.
Racing toward the bunkers

Annika, just hanging around

Conor getting a new perspective on things

Sometimes I really do climb the walls

Forget Spiderman, I've got Ericman
 After exploring the bunkers, we piled back in the car and headed to Pt. Townsend. Our original thought was to grab a casual lunch and poke around town a bit. Little did we know that there was a farmers market, art show, and some other even in town all on the same day, making parking practically impossible to find. We did find a spot near the farmers market, so we poked around there a bit and played in an adjacent park for awhile. We abandoned our hunt for a near-by family-friendly restaurant and headed out of town a bit before locating a Mexican restaurant that looked good and had plenty of parking. It all worked out for the best because our waiter mentioned that the Hood Canal Bridge would be closed again for repairs the next day (aka when we were heading home), which helped us decide on a "get up, eat breakfast, and go" approach to Sunday.
Conor and Eric at having a car race at the Pt. Townsend park

Annika enjoying the sun in Pt. Townsend

Saturday's weather was truly ideal! After we returned from Pt. Townsend, we changed into our shorts and headed down to the beach to play and fly our kite. The kids had a great time splashing around the water, finding shells and unique rocks on the beach, and digging in the sand. The beach has a bit of a jetty, so there was plenty of real estate to explore and not feel like we were in a sea of people. (I'm sure the fact that Labor Day was already past helped quite a bit with that, too.)

Annika flying the kite at Ft. Flagler's beach

The beach

The Driftwood King and Queen

Building sandcastles

Eric turning Annika into a sand mremaid

Mt. Baker in the deistance

My two favorite guys

Conor playing beach ball soccer
For our second night, we (once again) had a lovely fire and sat under the stars taking in the beauty of the night sky. We also played a "pass the story" game as we sat around the fire. We created a story about a mouse name Malcolm who was a baker (he lived in the same tree that the Keebler elves live in, in fact!) and he went to the county fair to compete in the cookie and pie-making contests ... he won a blue ribbon for his marshmallow, chocolate chip, and cheese cookies and for his cheese meringue pie! He had 17 brothers and sisters, who helped him work in his bakery, and had to deal with the fallout of a racoon bandit who stole his baking ingredients. Talk about a story that was full of drama!!!

We roasted hot dogs for dinner and s'mores for dessert. Yum! And, yes after the kids went to bed, Eric and I tuned in the "Shrew-a-vision" for our entertainment.

The next morning, we remained very focused so we could get across the bridge before its scheduled closure and are so glad we did. About 5 minutes after we left, the rain started to sprinkled down. Talk about timing!!!

On our way out of the park, we did make one quick unexpected stop ... we saw a mama and baby deer nibbling on the grass by the side of the road. Gratefully, the camera was at my feet and no one was behind our car, so I slipped out of the car and snapped a few photos before we continued on our merry way... tired, dirty, smelling of camp fire, and grateful for a fun weekend together.

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