Tag Archives: camping

Lake Wenatchee Camping Trip

For this summer’s annual camping trip we headed east to Lake Wenatchee State Park. Our trip commenced on Friday evening when we met our friends Mary and Ryan, as well as Ali, Tyler and their two kids Vivian and Conner for a weekend of sun, dust and lake time.

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The Millers and Furtwanglers met each other at our holiday party last December and we’ve had a few other social outings where the two couples connected so it was fun to have them both join Alex and me for a weekend trip. It was extra fun to have the kids there too! 🙂

{The Millers}

{The Millers}

{the Furtwanglers}

{the Furtwanglers}

The weather was HOT to say the least. We were extremely grateful we had two canopies to provide a bit of shade over our sunny campsite. The lake provided some reprieve from the heat too.

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This campground was great for families, as it had a beach and a great playground, along with running water and showers, but with all of those amenities came a lot of people and not a lot of privacy. It turned out there was a major lake access point at the campground and Lake Wenatchee is a big fishing lake, so at about 4:30 a.m. the fishing boats started to arrive…

{Lake Wenatchee}

{Lake Wenatchee}

Because of the heat we weren’t too motivated to do much of anything, let alone go for a hike. Our full day on Saturday was spent primarily down by the lake. We rented a paddleboard and traded off taking spins around the lake. Little Vivian and her mom, Ali, went out together, and then Jackson hopped on for a short time with Alex, too.

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We have had such a dry, hot summer in Washington, and because of that, the wildfire danger is extremely high. There are burn bans all over the state, which means no campfires. Thankfully they allow propane fires, so we brought our new propane fire ring so we could still have a campfire at our site. It really made such a difference to be able to have a campfire, even though it was controlled by a propane tank.

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Each of the couples brought their dog, so we had three canines running around the place. It’s always fun to see the progression Jackson makes year-to-year with activities that we do annually, and he did make a lot of progress in maturation from last year’s camping trip, but he had a lot of trouble settling into this campground. Jackson and Berkeley were on high alert Saturday morning, which made for a very early morning start for the Millers and us. It ultimately took five trips down to the water to go swimming before Jackson was tired enough to conk out.

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We had a really nice weekend away with our friends. Our camping trips and little jaunts around Washington always make Alex and me grateful for the beautiful state we live in. The exploration is endless and our list of places to visit seems to grow faster than we can keep up with! Thanks Millers and Furts for a great weekend trip!

Camping Trip in the Cascade Mountains

Last weekend was a highlight of our summer in Seattle. We spent the weekend camping in the central Cascades with our friends Carrie, Patrick, Mary and Ryan, and of course Jackson and Berkeley {Ryan and Mary’s dog}.

{the six of us at our campsite}

{the six of us at our campsite}

The drive once you get out of the city is breathtaking. After passing through the town of Enumclaw you start to follow the Green River as you move towards the mountain pass. Most of the drive is through a tree-lined highway that hugs the river. While Alex and I make the drive to Crystal Mountain most Saturdays during the winter, I had never been through Chinook Pass, which is just a bit past Crystal.

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The pass is gorgeous to put it mildly. Once the road starts switching back you have a constant view of Mount Rainier. As you climb in elevation, the mountain in view just gets bigger and bigger and really looks fake. The Millers timed it right and got to see it at sunset.

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We rolled into our campsite around 7:00, which was just the perfect amount of time to get set up and explore the campground before the Millers arrived at 8:00.

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There have been horrific wildfires throughout eastern Washington in recent weeks. Thankfully it seems like they’re under control now. That said, we happen to be technically in the same national forest as the wildfires which meant there was a strict burn ban and we were not able to have a campfire. It was disappointing, but we were fine hanging out around the picnic table and catching up while drinking some wine {or beer}.

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When we woke up the next morning we could tell right away that it was going to be a gorgeous day. There wasn’t a cloud in sight! It was chilly, though!! Most of us were pretty cold in the night, actually. Carrie and Patrick brought the coffee and I’m pretty sure Alex “accidentally” threw a stick at their tent for the dogs to fetch as a way to get them to get up so we could have some coffee {it was locked in their car}… Nice way to wake up your friends!

{playing with the dogs at the campground}

{playing with the dogs at the “beach” at our campground}

I was in charge of breakfast for our first day. I whipped up some mighty tasty breakfast burritos and served them along with fruit I had picked up at the farmer’s market on our way the day before. One of my favorite parts of camping is the food. While Mary, Carrie and I love to cook and go all out with food it is always a challenge to pick foods that are easy to transport and prepare at a campsite. Somehow we all seem to come up with new ideas that turn out really well.

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After breakfast we set out towards Bumping Lake to go for a hike. Once we pulled up and let the dogs out of the car they ran about 150 yards down towards the lake.

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When all of us caught up to the dogs we realized what an awesome spot they found and decided to park ourselves there instead of going for a hike!

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The mountain lakes in Washington are just incredible. We could have sat on the shores of Bumping Lake all day just staring across at the scenery. The two campgrounds we stayed at last summer had such majestic alpine lake views, as well. This one compared quite well!

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The dogs had fun swimming with Alex. I think the water was a little chilly for him, but the dogs didn’t seem to mind.

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Mary, Carrie and I made ourselves comfortable on a huge piece of driftwood and popped open a bottle of wine.

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While Patrick and Ryan were perusing the shores, checking things out. Ryan decided to try his skills at jumping from a small stump/log to a huge stump. It did not work out well for him, as he did a slooowww mooottioonnn fall backwards right into the lake. He was fine and it provided a nice chuckle for the rest of us!

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The weather was absolutely perfect this day {and the whole weekend}. We were all loving basking in the sun, overlooking the gorgeous lake.

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The dogs were in heaven. I think they swam for 3 hours straight.

{we found a perfect wine nook!}

{we found a perfect wine nook!}

Alex tried to convince the other guys to smoke a cigar with him but he was the lone smoker. They all indulged in a cherry seed spitting contest, though. I never heard who won?

All good things must come to an end, though. Eventually we mustered up the energy to walk back to the car and head to our campsite to eat some lunch.

Once we got back the boys decided to put up the canopy tent that Alex and I had just purchased before the trip. We got the canopy in case of rain so that we all wouldn’t have to retreat to our own tents. This canopy is huge – it’s 11′ x 11′ and about 8 feet tall, plus it has screen walls that zipper shut, which was a saving grace from the bugs. It made a great party tent!

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The canopy has bold verbiage on the bag that says “Set Up in Three Minutes or Less” so that was one of the selling features that drew me towards it. I always seem to forget how to set up a tent so easy is good! As it turns out, it took two engineers and a doctor 45 minutes to put up the damn canopy. Perhaps if someone would have read the instructions it could have taken 42 minutes off the setup time… Just a thought…

We ended up loving the canopy! It felt like our own little private space. We set it up to enclose the picnic table. It worked out so well we didn’t really leave the tent after we got it set up.

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Carrie and Patrick were on dinner duty that night and prepared us a hearty meal of brats, beans and potato salad, then we snacked on her yummy monster cookies for dessert {ok, all day!}. The rest of the evening was spent playing card games in our party canopy until we were finally ready for bed.

Sunday morning came bright and early and quickly showed us it was going to be another gorgeous day. After eating pancakes and bacon we broke down our tents, packed up and hit the road. Before our trip Carrie had requested that we not rush out of the campground and head home right away – she wanted us all to do something on Sunday, too, so that the weekend felt longer. Since we were so close to Crystal Mountain we ended up going on a hike there.

{it looks a little different in the summer... more flowers, perhaps?}

{it looks a little different in the summer… more flowers, perhaps?}

Alex and I had previously hiked from the base of Crystal up to the top of the gondola tower and I remembered it was a challenging hike, but boy, this was pretty strenuous, plus it was hot out and there’s not much shade.

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{the boys having fun talking about the new ski lifts going in}

{the boys having fun talking about the new ski lifts going in}

It is always fun to be at Crystal in the summertime because you’re reminded of what lies beneath the snow that you ski on. It is so hard to believe that you can ski on terrain that is so rocky and jagged! There were some spots that literally had a creek running through it that freezes and gets covered in snow mid-winter that we ski over. 

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The dogs were in heaven during the hike. They both love being out in nature, but you could tell by the middle of the hike they were ready to be done. It really was quite warm for them {and us!}.

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It’s safe to say we had a great time hiking, exploring Crystal in the summer and just spending time with each other.

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The view at the top was well worth the work!

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We are so thankful for having such good friends and for living in a state like Washington. There is endless beauty where we live and we are so lucky to live here.

{Thanks for SUCH a great weekend! We love you guys!!!}

{Thanks for SUCH a great weekend! We love you guys!!!}

Weekend in the north cascades

Another great weekend away spent with wonderful friends in the wilderness! Our latest camping trip was up in the North Cascades at a campground called Horseshoe Cove.

Our campsite at Horseshoe Cove in Concrete, WA

Our campsite at Horseshoe Cove in Concrete, WA

Traffic wasn’t as terrible this week as it was when we went down to Mount Hood a couple weeks ago, but we still got a slow start due to Henry cat not wanting to come inside. We arrived at the campsite around 7 on Friday night and got set up while waiting for Carrie, Patrick, Mary and Ryan to arrive.

Baker Lake

Baker Lake

Our campground was beautiful – it was full of very tall trees covered in lush, hairy moss. We were situated on Baker Lake which was surrounded by evergreens that turned the water a deep shade of turquoise. It was quite a sight. The campsite we stayed in {#14} was large enough for each couple to have their own tent, plus a whole lot of room for Jackson to roam around on his long leash.

Baker Lake

Baker Lake

After setting up camp and exploring our domain for the weekend we lit a fire and spent the evening chatting and catching up. We are so lucky to have such good friends!

The boys {Ryan, Patrick and Alex}

The boys {Ryan, Patrick and Alex}

Very early Saturday morning we were awaken by an unexpected thunderstorm. It was SO loud! Thunderstorms are very uncommon in Seattle, I’m not sure if that’s the same in the mountains, but the sound of the thunder was reverberating off of the mountains and lake around us and it was quite a show. Our tents were pretty well protected under some tall trees so we didn’t get rained on too much, but of course we were all laying awake in our sleeping bags hoping that none of the trees fell on us.

Mt. Baker Wilderness

Mt. Baker Wilderness

After a delicious breakfast of egg sandwiches on Saturday morning we set off to hike to Watson Lake. The drive to the trail head was quite precarious. We found ourselves literally driving over a dam. I was a bit anxious as we slowly eased our way onto the road that runs on top of the dam and then looking down on the other side was a whole new feeling of anxiety. Thankfully the dam was not running at that time, otherwise between me and the other girls, I’m not sure we would have made it over.

Driving up to the dam

Driving up to the dam

As if that wasn’t precarious enough, we ventured about 12 miles on gravel switchback roads as we wound our way up the mountains to our destination. We made it safely over a very sketchy bridge and eventually wound up where we started our hike.

The road over the dam

The road over the dam

The hike to Watson Lake was a bit challenging, but the biggest test was keeping the bugs at bay. I don’t think any of us mastered that task! The bugs were so bad we all got an arm workout by swatting them away for the 4 miles we were hiking.

Hikers!

Hikers!

Once we arrived at Watson Lake none of us wanted to stand still and get eaten alive by the bugs for too long so we snapped a couple of photos and made our way back to our cars.

Beautiful views on our way down to the lake.

Beautiful views on our way down to the lake.

Watson Lake

Watson Lake

We had worked up quite an appetite on our hike, so we laid out a very nice spread for lunch once we returned to our campsite. This is what happens when three girls who love to cook and eat go car camping!

Girls who cook!

Girls who cook!

All of us were fighting bug bites, covered in 10 layers of bug spray and dried up sweat so we thought that a dip in the lake was in order. It felt so good to clean ourselves off and go swimming. The lake was frigid, yet we swam out about 100 yards and Carrie and Ryan went even further and tried to climb up onto a log and jump off, some attempts more successful than others.

Mary and Ryan at Watson Lake

Mary and Ryan at Watson Lake

Jackson even took a turn swimming – he seemed to be enjoying himself. Since Alex and I were both in the water with him he seemed more comfortable and interested in paddling around a bit. Now we’ve just got to get him to play fetch in the water.

Carrie & Patrick on our hike.

Carrie & Patrick on our hike.

After we got back from swimming we picked up an earlier knitting lesson while the boys played frisbee. Mary brought her knitting needle collection and some yarn and successfully taught Carrie and me how to knit! I’m excited to pick up some supplies for myself and try my hand at knitting a scarf.

Alex and me at Watson Lake

Alex and me at Watson Lake

The rest of the evening was spent eating {Mary and Ryan made amazing pulled pork tacos} and drinking {note: next time we go camping we had 36 beers, 5 bottles of wine + vodka and scotch and we wanted more beer and wine} and hanging out around the campfire.

Gorgeous views on the drive back to our campsite from our hike.

Gorgeous views on the drive back to our campsite from our hike.

Sunday morning we woke up to more rain. It was a little chilly and very wet! That made for an utter mess trying to break down the tent and pack up the car. Between today and yesterday I did 8 or 9 loads of laundry just trying to clean the pine needles and mud off of everything.

Such a fun time in the North Cascades.

Such a fun time in the North Cascades.

We had such a great time camping! But now I’m looking forward to a couple of weekends in Seattle to catch up on things that got pushed back at home before we have some visitors and then travel for three weddings this fall.

The girls!

The girls!

Mount Hood Camping Trip

Our first camping trip of the summer has come and gone already! This past weekend Alex and I ventured down to Mount Hood, Oregon and met our friends Ali and Tyler and their seven month old baby Vivian, and of course their dog Glory. We had never been to Mount Hood before and had a fabulous time exploring.

Jackson is such a trooper in the car.

Jackson is such a trooper in the car.

The trip started off with a very, very, very long drive. It was supposed to take us 4.5 hours to get there but we both got stuck in traffic and it ended up being a 7 hour trek down to our campsite.

View from the car on the way to the campground.

View from the car on the way to the campground.

 

It was an absolutely gorgeous drive – we hauled off the highway once we found a back way and ended up meandering our way through some little towns that Alex had actually ridden his bike through a couple weeks prior. Once we got to Oregon we were in uncharted territory and were in awe of the views of Mount Hood from our drive. We didn’t end up arriving until after 9, but thankfully Ali and Tyler had gotten there with enough time to get themselves unpacked and get ready to make dinner for us when we arrived.

Our campsite was enormous!

Our campsite was enormous!

Tyler the lumberjack.

Tyler the lumberjack.

Little Jackson had never been camping before and we were a little nervous about how he would deal with sleeping in a tent and not in a crate or a confined space. He surpassed even our best expectations and handled it like a champ!

Jackson slept curled up with us all night long!

Jackson slept curled up with us all night long!

Since we didn’t arrive until after dark we hadn’t seen our campground or surroundings, not to mention the spectacular view of Mount Hood. Makes me wonder why our campground was called “Hoodview,”

The view of Mount Hood from the campground.

The view of Mount Hood from the campground.

We hung out at the campsite most of the morning and then embarked on a little trek back up the road to Timberline Lodge. Timberline is a ski area on Mount Hood that is actually still currently open. It stays open about 10 out of the 12 months each year, depending on the snow.

Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

Once we arrived at Timberline we went for a 5 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a 2,600 mile long trail that spans from Mexico all the way to Canada.

Pit stop as we entered the Mt Hood Wilderness and left Timberline Ski Resort.

Pit stop as we entered the Mt Hood Wilderness and left Timberline Ski Resort.

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

Photo op at "The Lookout,"

Photo op at “The Lookout.”

Tyler, Viv and Ali

Tyler, Viv and Ali

The trail was fairly easy but it was extremely sandy, which was quite unexpected. The sand made it a little bit more challenging to walk in – it felt like we were walking along the beach for 5 miles. Also it was mostly in the sun with limited shade, so that made for one hot puppy.

Puppy ride!

Puppy ride!

Hiking along in the sand.

Hiking along in the sand.

We got some great views of Mount Hood’s peak and then Mount Jefferson in the horizon. It was a gorgeous day for a hike.

Views.

Views.

After our adventure we carted ourselves back to the campsite and made dinner and just hung out for the rest of the evening. Of course we made s’mores both nights.

Photo by the lake.

Photo by the lake.

It’s hard to believe the trip went by so fast! Sunday morning we woke up and chatted for a bit while I made pancakes and bacon on the grill, then packed up and hit the road again.

Pancakes and bacon on the grill.

Pancakes and bacon on the grill.

 

We decided to meet up in Hood River, which was about an hour or so up the road from our campsite, and have lunch together. What a darling town Hood River is! I will definitely be back. Hood River is situated right along the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon/Washington border and is famous for its kite surfing.

Gorgeous drive home on highway 84 in Oregon along the Columbia River.

Gorgeous drive home on highway 84 in Oregon along the Columbia River.

After lunch we headed back for our cars and ended up spending the entire rest of the day on the road for another 7 hour drive back home. It sure was worth it for such a fun weekend, though!

What a great weekend!

What a great weekend!