Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ross Lake 2007

We took our annual DeWaard family camping trip to beautiful Ross Lake this past weekend. Although it was a bit cool and it rained one night, the overall trip was still a blast. Highlights included singing around the campfire with Wade leading on guitar, lots of game playing and falling asleep to a chorus of a thousand froggies singing their hearts out, or should I say croaking their hearts out. The scenery there never fails to take my breath away.

My family -- on the left my sister Kristin and her fiance Jonathan (who are getting married in only 11 days!!! Ahhhh!), my Dad and Mom, my brother Kenner, and Wade and I and all our little ones.

Luke and Elijah lounging -- those kiddie chairs have gotten so much use!

Wade and the boys did swim one day even though it never got terribly warm.

My Mom and Isaac playing Scrabble - yeah right. Okay, Mom teaching Isaac how to spell.

There are a few of these outbuildings in the Ross Lake National Forest Area and they are hands-down the finest, most attractive, least smelly, most sanitary non-flush no-plumbing commodes. And for nearly $30,000 a piece, according to the forest ranger, they should be. Roomy, wheelchair accesible, well ventilated and equiped with hand sanitizer dispensers, these are the luxery edition of outhouses. These fine outbuildings get a full 10 points out of 10 on our campground rating scale. I could go on, but I'll spare you.

And the final tally for the weekend -- a whopping 9.6 points, with three categories (bathrooms, cost and overall enjoyability) getting the highest possible marks and the other two (campsites and interest) rating 9 out of 10. Can you tell we love this place?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Camping at Colonial Creek

Wow, a month without an update -- I'm falling behind! My apologies to any loyal web fans.
What I meant to post two and a half weeks ago was... We took our second camping trip of the year Memorial Day weekend. Van loaded to the gills, we headed east into the North Cascades to Colonial Creek Campground on scenic highway 20. The weekend was chock full of hiking, building bridges over small creeks, roasting mallows, hot dogs and lil smokies, climbing trees, exploring, singing around the campfire and even a bit of swimming (brrr!). It was one of the better places we've camped, and a return trip is highly likely.

We did a threeish-mile hike with the boys one day and saw this tree along the way. The boys thought it was very cool to stand inside a tree!

This downed tree was on one edge of our campsite, and the boys spent lots of time climbing on the enormous roots and walking the length of the tree.

This very unique "northwest palm tree" was in our campsite. Even after much examination we couldn't figure out what would have made it grow like this.

The whole family on a wooden bridge on our mini hike. This was the turn-around spot (and about the time Lij and Luke wanted to be carried the rest of the way!).

Wade and I have come up with a rating system for campgrounds, which is outlined below.

CAMPGROUND RATING SYSTEM (divide total points by 5 for final score)
• Bathrooms - maximum of 10 points possible
• Camp Sites (condition of table, fire pits, tent area, privacy) - max of 10 points possible
• Interest (trails, swimming, park, stuff to do) - max of 10 points possible
• Cost - max of 10 points possible
• Overall enjoyability - max of 10 points possible

We gave Silver Lake, which we camped at in early May, 7.2 points (overall a quite enjoyable stay, but a little spendy for a campground, and not a lot in the way of stuff to do). Colonial Creek got a high 8.4 because just about everything there was fabulous. Still not real cheap for a campground, but reasonable, and most of the campsites had pretty small tent pads which is a bother for those of us with an 8-man tent, but everything else rated very high. We'll keep you posted on the rest of our camping trips and their scores.