Since our first attempt at family camping was a rather damp disappointment, we figured we needed a re-do.  Shane did some sleuthing on Washington’s most beautiful campgrounds and we settled on Colonial Creek in the North Cascades as our Take Two destination.  We turned on our out-of-office auto-replies, played a few rounds of cooler Tetris as we struggled to get all our gear into our car, and on Wednesday morning, we were mountain-bound!  We rolled up to camp shortly after noon and snagged one of the last water-front sites – this place was hoppin!  I mean, of course it was – check out the view…

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Jules and I scoped out the bathroom situation and paid our fees at the ranger station while Shane set up camp in record time – this guy was clearly Jonesin’ to get out on the paddle board we had borrowed for the weekend.

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Juliette was wound up with the excitement of it all, but quickly crashed once we settled into the tent for naptime.  Snuggling up to this sleeping kid has become one of my favorite parts of camping.

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I’m glad she rested, because that evening her buddies joined the party – all aboard the camp chair choo choo train!

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This girl looooooves the babies.

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And this guy loves the water.

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We cooked a mondo steak over the campfire for dinner and then capped off Day One with toasted mallows.  I figured we could push back Juliette’s 7:30 bedtime, it being vacation and all, but was a little surprised when I checked my phone as we tucked her into her sleeping bag – it was after 10:00!  Ah, well, carpe diem – how often do we get to completely lose track of time anymore?

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Thursday morning was sunny and glorious – the guys got back out on the water, the kids played in the mud, and I took my time drinking my large cup of coffee.

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Paddle board yoga!

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Once Shane and Brian were properly zenned, we packed up a few PB&J’s for lunch and hit the Thunder Creek trail right near our campsite.

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Jules can be a tricky hiking companion, often darting ahead or lagging waaaaay behind.  Hence the lollipop bribe to get her to hang tight in the backpack.

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Juliette asked if a dinosaur broke this rock:

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We told her yes.

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The woods were dense and lush, Shire-like with the abundance of moss.

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We were bound and determined to make it to the bridge, even if that meant carrying Jules the last half mile (see previous two photos).  Finally…voila!  The river and lake are this amazing aqua blue, colored by the minerals from the glacial melt.  Incredible.

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We grabbed a river-side log for lunch and took a much-needed load off – that may have been the longest two miles I had ever walked.

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The water was freezing, but too tempting to resist a quick little splash.

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Eventually I told Jules it was time to hit the trail back to camp.  She just shushed me.

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We eventually coaxed Juliette into the backpack and high-tailed it back to camp for naps, pausing only briefly along the way to take in these colors.  THESE COLORS.

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We dozed a bit in the afternoon, and then these speed-racers rolled into camp Thursday evening – welcome, Rusts!

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This is the face of a kid sister that just can’t quite keep up…

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Meanwhile, Shane was…

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We chowed down on another campfire meal and then walked/biked over the amphitheater for the 7 pm ranger talk, which turned out to be a rather dry discussion of the concept of wilderness, spiced up only by folk tales about salmon women and demon elk.  Not quite the bedtime story I’d planned for Jules, but we went with it, hoping the ranger’s monotone voice would tee us up for an easy bedtime.  No such luck – this girl was pumped!

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Up next:  a lookout, a goat, and lots more paddle boarding!  Stay tuned.