It’d been more than five years since we last packed our car to the gills with coolers, sleeping bags, marshmallows, and a tent, intent on spending a couple of days communing with nature, marveling at the amber glow of a campfire, and sleeping amidst the trees. The last time we went camping, we found ourselves in desert wine country near the Canadian border, languishing in unexpected 104-degree heat, tending to a manic dog that’d been attacked by yellow jackets on the lake’s shore, waiting for Roth’s mom to feel better after a mysterious bout of food poisoning, and battening down the hatches as a warm windstorm blew through one night.
I swore off camping after that ill-fated trip. It’s funny now, but back then, I never thought we’d do it again. But then we had a baby who quickly turned into a little boy with an intrepid sense of adventure and an unrelenting desire to roast marshmallows on a stick and sleep in a tent. In the last few of years, I’d softened to the idea of leaving civilization and cell phone towers behind for a couple of days to just BE among the tall trees and become one with the dirt. And so, that’s precisely what we did last weekend.
The trick to a good camping trip, I think, is to go with people who know what they’re doing and exactly where to go. Cut to our dear friends Kerri and Matt, who secured their favorite spot near the Icicle River just outside of Leavenworth and had a campfire already started when we arrived late Friday. This particular spot is nestled against a babbling creek and flanked by cedars, making it cozy and private, and best of all, cool and shady. A far cry from the last campsite where we pitched our tent.
For the next day and a half, we ate grilled pizza and drank growlers of beer, explored mellow trails and foraged wild huckleberries and thimble berries, and dreamt in our tent with the soundtrack of an ice melt creek trickling in the background. It was the perfect introduction to camping for a 3.5-year-old, and the perfect RE-introduction for his parents, too.
When can we go again?