When Nancy emailed Shane and I last week to see if we’d be in for a little surprise camping action for Jason’s birthday, we cleared our calendars and dug our tent out of the recesses of our closet. We set sail for Illahee State Park via the Bremerton ferry on Friday afternoon, loving the sense of “getaway” that comes with watching the Seattle skyline recede in the distance.

An hour and a half later we pulled up to our perfect campsite, nestled among the trees and just minutes away from the water. We set up our tent and inflated our air mattress in record time – Shane was eager to try out the extra mountain bike Jordan had brought along.

We ate our dinner around the campfire that night and stayed up talking and roasting marshmallows – until the rain began to fall in huge, splashing drops. We rushed around like madmen cleaning up camp and then took refuge in our tents, enjoying the nighttime storm from the warmth of our sleeping bags.

Saturday was devoted to a whole bunch of perfect nothin’. Jack and La V joined us late in the morning and we all headed down to the water to check out the beach.

While the ladies spent much of the day basking in the sun, the boys played hard. Frisbee, volleyball, mountain biking, whew!

There was also hammock-lounging, delicious oysters hot off the grill, and an evening swim for our uber-active fellas.

(Who said the Prius is only a 5-seater? Pshhh.)

We spent another evening sitting around the campfire, eating Indian food and grilled crab while the birthday boy waxed poetic about the ups and downs of his 31st year.

The fixin’s were brought out for s’mores round 2, Shane’s bottle of whiskey emerged and made its way around the circle, and the fireside chatter kept up late into the night. I’m constantly wondering with these people where conversation will take us next – there was heated debate over whether or not animals have feelings, there was the ridiculous attempt to decipher the lyrics to Alan Jackson’s Chatahoochee, and there were equal shares of reminiscing and looking forward.

We got a (kind of) early start this morning, toasted our Aussie Bites over the fire, then broke down camp and hit the road. Although I was jonesin’ for a hot shower and the comfort of our bed, I was more than a little sad to say good-bye to our little wooded retreat.

Cheers, J! Wishing you a year filled of laughter, frisbee golf, and plenty more surprise adventures…