Camping season has begun!  But for me, sleeping-on-the-ground season has almost come to a close, so when Jason and Nance asked if we’d be up for a mountain getaway this weekend, we jumped at the chance for one last hurrah in the great outdoors.  We scored a great river-front site at Verlot Campground in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and had camp set up by lunchtime on Friday.  Shane and Jason took the kids for a hike in the afternoon and then shared this moment of rest, pondering deep thoughts while watching the river run by.  I lazed around, reading and digging into our cooler o’ goodies.  This is how weekends are meant to be kicked off.

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Burgers for dinner, s’mores for dessert, a bout of intense laughter as we watched Jason play “Hot Chalaka”, where he tossed a glowing hot ember from hand to hand, and whew!  I was tuckered out and so thankful for the cush set-up in our tent, complete with thick sleeping pads, a body pillow, and a pile of blankets.  I will never be a backpacker, as packing light is not my forte, but I give myself props for building a pretty comfy bed over hard-packed dirt – with the exception of the 3 am run to the bathroom to address the issue of my squished bladder, I slept great.

We were itching to get out for a hike after breakfast on Saturday and chose a relatively easy trail down the road from our campground.  The G-Man was our fearless trailblazer, always scrambling a few steps ahead of us to give us the all-clear.

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We turned back before making it to our lake destination, as the trail got  steeper and rockier as we went on, but the trek still wasn’t lacking in the way of scenery.  The drive down the mountain was gorgeous – amazing to think that bustling downtown Seattle was just over an hour away.  I reveled in the feeling of being so “away from it all”.

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We ate lunch on the lawn of a beautiful little picnic area right off the main road.  That view!  And that soft green grass!  And the sun!  So many reasons for giddy exclamation points!

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We enjoyed a mellow afternoon back at the campsite, lounging and snacking and skipping rocks down by the river.

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Jason was the only one of us bold enough to brave the achingly cold water – I was content to sit on a warm rock and dip my toes in.

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We closed out the day with s’mores round 2 (and 3, and maybe 4?), and another rousing game of Hot Chalaka.  Oh, and a tip:  throw a couple of slices of strawberry on your next s’more, right between your melty chocolate and gooey marshmallow.  You’re welcome.

We took our time packing up camp on Sunday morning – I think we were all a little reluctant to say good-bye to our river-side retreat.  The guys got in a good round of frisbee, the boys did about 45 loops around the campground on their bikes, and Nance and I each took an introverted moment to slip away with our Kindles.

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Some of my earliest memories are of family camping trips in the mountains of Colorado, hanging out with my dad as he fished by the river and sitting around the fire in the evenings.  My brother and I got filthy and drank Tang with our lunch and had loads of fun.  Here’s to hoping we’ve got our own little camper on the way!

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