In mid July, we celebrated Bella’s birthday by going camping up at Washington Park in Anacortes, WA, essentially the gateway to the San Juan Island’s. Needless to say, it was beautiful!
It wasn’t quite as hot as it had been, so having to sit around a campfire in shorts and a sweatshirt was nice. Did I ever tell you that I am REALLY good at making campfires? I prefer the teepee method when starting my fires and I love using an old Boy Scout trick I learned many years ago, using twine, unwinding it to look like someone’s nasty hair, ball it up a little, and then use as the tinder. Add some paper or maybe the granola bar box, twigs, then kindling, then bigger pieces…and so on. Nothing like a good campfire.
When I camp, I joke that I am somewhere between my dad, who is the guy that wants to bring almost nothing and go where there is no water and more importantly, no people, and someone like my Uncle John who is what I would call an “extreme” camper. “Extreme” in this case is that my uncle is and always has been prepared for anything. Before he got a little trailer, he was a tent camper with traditions that were equal parts childhood experience with scouts, his dad (my granddad), and all of the camping he had done with his wife, my aunt Nancy. Apparently when they were first married, they spent most of that first year up in the forest where they camped at night while he was pushing dirt around during the day, as his job was building Forest Service and logging roads. She did her best to make the camp as homey as it could be. I suppose the combination of these experiences is why my Uncle had what appeared to be so many extra things available to him when camping. He had an old mirror wired to a tree with a shaving station, an extra tent just to store seconds and thirds of anything, and everything else you could have available to make living in the forest for a weekend, week, or even longer, as comfortable, yet rustic, as possible. Somewhere in between is what I aspire to…
Every year, I suppose like a lot of families who enjoy camping, I try and add at least one thing to make my campsite just a little better. This year, I was fortunate to add THREE THINGS! The only way I could do that was because of the power of craigslist, plain and simple (I have often wondered what my uncle, and frankly a generation or two worth of people would have done with something like craigslist). Because I saved money by finding it used on craigs (a camp kitchen), I was also able to get a canopy tent from same uncle, as well as brand-new hammock! It is one of those neat ones that fold up into a little pouch from R.E.I. This is a good year.