I've had several people ask how our first camping trip went, so I figured I should post about our experience.
I left work early to get ready for our big boys weekend camping trip at Deception Pass. I did some grocery shopping and made a last minute decision to get a cook stove (a Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart two burner job -- great decision). I picked the boys up from school and started packing the car. I had too much junk, so I had a bit of last second re-packing to do and we were off. We left Bellevue at 4:30pm on a Friday, headed to Deception Pass. The weather was miserable at home, and we were in continuous rush hour traffic pretty much all the way up past Everett, so we didn't get off to a good start.
However, as we got closer to Deception Pass, both the weather and traffic started clearing; by the time we got to the campground 2.5 hours after we left home, the weather was clear and beautiful. We found our site easily (even though the photo on the Parks website wasn't the right one for our site) and got the tent set up; then I went to get the sleeping bags and realized I had forgotten them at home during my mad repacking. My brain raced through the options - go home and get the bags, sleep on the pads wearing all the clothes we brought, bail on the entire thing... The boys looked on nervously as I sat with my head in my hands. I then realized that we weren't that far from civilization; we piled back into the car, drove to Oak Harbor (nine miles away) and bought three new sleeping bags at the Kmart. We were back in business!
We went and played by the water in the lovely sunset, had our fire complete with hot dogs and s'mores. Actually, Michael (7) cooked chunks of sashimi-grade tuna over the fire because he doesn't like hot dogs. We read ghost stories in the tent and listened to the EA-6Bs and P3s from the nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island fly their night missions (the aircraft noise was the only real bummer that night). Fortunately, the heavy rain that night drowned out the noise. :)
It was still raining when we woke up; I rigged a tarp over the picnic table and made coffee for myself as the kids slept in. By the time they woke up, the rain cleared up and didn't rain again. After breakfast, we played on the beach, climbed rocks, messed around with the driftwood, tried to find a geocache, and generally mucked about. The guys both managed to flood both pairs of shoes we brought (including rubber boots), so I had shoes drying by the fire.
Michelle landed from her trip to Tokyo, took a nap, and then came up to join us around dinner time. It was getting a bit nippy, so Michelle decided not the stay the night; Michael decided he wanted to go home too, so it was just me and Andrew (10). We had a great breakfast in the morning (pancakes and bacon -- wow, I forgot what a pain it is to cook bacon in a pan. Oven bacon rules!), packed up camp, and came home.
We all had a great time. The boys were already pestering me to go again, so I think it was a success.