Camping is a whole lot of hard work and expense followed by a day so relaxing you feel like you could melt into your camp chair. And then a whole lot of hard work again. But man, I love it.
It all started Thursday after work, when we made a run to a sporting goods store followed by the grocery store. We emerged with two carts full and wallets significantly lighter. I was thinking, damn, marshmallows sure have gotten expensive! But it was more than just that.
There were graham crackers, too.
And firewood, and a new camp table, and air mattresses, and…well, it all adds up. A lot of these were one-time purchases. I’m sure our next trip will be much cheaper. That night we loaded the cars, as in plural. With the kids coming along, and a dog – Audrey’s new puppy – and all that stuff, there was no way we could all fit in one car. We hit the road a little after 6:00 Friday evening, and didn’t pull into our camping site – Cape Disappointment on the Long Beach peninsula – until about 8:45. It was overcast and chilly, and darkness was already settling in, so we started a fire and got our tents up right away. The kids were very helpful; they even got their own tent up without assistance, and I was impressed since this was only their second camping trip in a tent in…well, EVER. I have to say, we really enjoyed their company all weekend. With Rusty working a part-time job now, and Audrey taking care of a dog, they both seemed much more responsible than before. And it’s barely been a month since they lived with us! The weekend made me realize how much I miss them.
We ended up eating dinner around 10:30. I’d learned how to make “hobo packs” from scouting Pinterest; these were foil packets containing ground beef, sliced red potatoes, Walla Walla onions, mushrooms, and carrots, and seasoned liberally. You just cook them on hot coals for about half an hour, and they turn out tasting like miniature meatloaves. We all enjoyed those very much. It was after midnight before we crawled into bed, and the next morning we awoke to low clouds, fog, and mist. Unfortunately we never did see the sun, but it also never rained torrentially, so we couldn’t really complain. We walked along the beach, examined some tide pools, found a good sized Dungeness crab that we debated taking back to camp to cook, but ended up setting free. Only because Tara had all the ingredients for breakfast burritos, which turned out amazing. Those and bloody marys and we were really enjoying breakfast. The rest of the day was spent lounging around camp, exploring the beach and a nearby jetty, and lounging around camp. Oh, and also, we lounged around camp. Note: “lounging around camp” = “sitting on our asses drinking.”
H E A V E N.
That evening we had country ribs cooked in a pan with beer, onions, and homemade barbecue sauce, along with corn on the cob and beans. And S’mores later on, naturally. At one point two women from the neighboring camp came over and we ended up chatting for nearly an hour. They were impressed that we cooked everything over a wood fire, while they were loaded down with propane stoves and portable grills. The first couple of times we went camping I asked Tara if we needed charcoal or a camp stove, and she scoffed at me. I’ve since learned to trust her, and it is pretty impressive how she’s able to build up a perfect fire every time, and we cook everything either over or in it. Feels more like “roughing it” that way. She did say she has never before purchased firewood, so that’s her one concession to “urban living.” As darkness deepened the mist returned, and by Sunday morning our campsite was wet and muddy. Rather than hanging around, we broke down camp early, and ended up at the Pig ‘n Pancake restaurant in Astoria for dungeness crab eggs benedict (hope he wasn’t the same one we set free the day before), sourdough pancakes, omelettes, and more. By that point we hadn’t showered in two days and reeked of wood smoke, so we ended up leaving the waitress a generous tip. We arrived back home at 12:00 noon on the dot.
Going back to work after such a great weekend is always tough. Hard to believe that a mere 24 hours earlier we awoke in a tent, the roar of the ocean in our ears and the scent of wood smoke and pine hanging in the misty air. Already, I can’t wait for our next camping trip. We’d love to go again this summer, but the weeks are flying by and our calendar is filling up fast. My brother is visiting this week, we have friends from Sacramento coming in for Labor Day weekend, and this little thing called a wedding in less than two months. Sadly, we probably won’t get another trip in until next year.
Fortunately, we’ve got memories. And photographs.
- Camping! (mytalllife.com)
- 8 Terrifying Things About Camping…That Are Easy To Overcome (simplisafe.com)
- Get Ready For Your Camping Trip With This Advice (checklistforcampinggear.wordpress.com)
- Nature and I had a heart to heart and broke up this weekend…. (sarahjane111984.wordpress.com)