Monday, September 01, 2008

Not What You'd Call Hard Core

Well, the camping trip was a bust. We headed out to Hoh for what was supposed to be a fun 4- or 5-night adventure. It's late August, for goodness sake, might I remind you. We're supposed to have sun.

My darling husband has wanted to camp at Olympic National Forest for years. Somehow, we kept missing it, mostly because I'm the boss of the whole wide world and I like camping on Orcas Island or in the mountains. This time, I caved, and we've been planning this trip since May.

You locals might be thinking to yourselves "but the Hoh! Why would you do that? It's in the RAIN FOREST."

You'd think that, and you'd be right.

We drove all the way to Port Angeles (maybe 4 hours from our house), before the rain kicked in. On our way to the National Park, another hour and a half from Port Angeles, we might have had the sense to turn around. Nope, though, we soldiered on. We got to the very wet campsite, and donned our rain gear, and set up the tent. Lawnboy kept telling me while he was setting up our new fancy tent that it wasn't rainproof. I kept saying "We'll be fine, Honey," all the while thinking "Man, I do NOT want to camp in this rain, you couldn't light a fire if you wanted to."

Even before he got the rain fly on the tent, the insides were covered in water. We might have brought our rain gear, but we forgot our waterproof pajamas. Lawnboy kept touching base, saying "We can go home if you want." But I didn't want to make another 5 hour drive back home that night, and I thought to myself "We can do anything for one night. We're not going to die from being damp."

Then my genius husband said "Honey, let's go into Forks and see if we can get a hotel room." I said "YES" before he finished the sentence. We left the tents to soak (we brought two tents and set them both up before he had the hotel epiphany), packed the boys into the car, and headed back to Forks, which is about an hour away.

WIMPS! But man, those dry hotel blankets and pillows sure felt good. And the opportunity to dry out our shoes was excellent.

We made a plan to go hiking at Hoh the next morning, and then to head over to the rain shadow after the hike. We were on our way before 9 AM. It was still pouring when we got back to the campsite, and because we had decided to head to Sequim to camp in the rain shadow, which was 2 hours away, we went ahead and broke down camp before trying to hike. Good thing we hadn't slept there, as our fancy big tent had puddles inside that were bigger than the kids' bodies. Lawnboy got all packed up while I kid-wrangled, and aside from being chased by The Amazing So and So with his pet banana slug, "AAAAAAA! LAWNBOY! HELP! HE'S CHASING ME! WITH A SLUG!!!" it was pretty uneventful.

Realizing it was time to head on to the next camp, we decided to pass on the rainforest hike. On the way out of the park, we passed 3 or 4 rental RV's, and devised a plan to check into that for the next time. It seems like a good idea; all the convenience and dryness of a hotel room but still kind of outside. We can go hiking in the rain, then dry off inside our own little camper.

We unpacked at Dungeness Spit in dry weather, but then we realized we'd forgotten a few key items: a pot or pan to cook in, lighter or waterproof matches, a patch kit for our air mattress (which got popped when the boys were "helping" set up camp), and warm coats. Brought the raincoats, but nothing heavy to keep warm with. Dinner consisted of bananas, Lara Bars, tortilla chips and Smores. Hooray for campground nutrition!

At bedtime, it sprinkled a bit. We weren't worried. Our small tent had fared really well in the rain at Hoh, and had already dried out. We snuggled in it together that night, and even though it started pouring in the middle of the night, we stayed dry. The shoes, our only shoes, that were left outside the tent, were another story.

We woke up and donned our squishy shoes and packed up right away. We'd had it. We headed up to Hurricane Ridge, borrowed some matches from another camper to light our stove enough to heat water for the instant soup lunch, went for a tiny 1 mile hike down to a creek, and then got in the car and headed back to home sweet home that afternoon.

This ends our camping adventures for 2008.

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