Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Camping at Cape Disappointment

Our first camping trip of the summer was a visit to Cape Disappointment State Park. We loved the site we had last year, but this year we arrived to find our neighbors right up against (and even in) our space. It was awkward.

That's all their stuff.

Our spot did have its consolations, though. There was a clearing in the trees just big enough for our tent, which was handy when the weather turned sprinkly. And there was a huge rock right behind us, upon which the boys would have happily spent an entire week. I climbed up once, and my fear of heights kicked in so badly that it was really hard for me to let them keep climbing up to play there. I was always ill at ease until they were back down on the ground.

If you click on this picture, you can see what they looked like from our campsite. Tiny.

A huge group of teenagers occupied much of our loop and the loop adjacent to us. They were camping across the U.S., transported on charter buses which I never would have guessed could fit into a campsite parking space. The rock was a popular hangout for the teenagers, and boy did our kids study them. (See below.) Nels and Willem concluded that they are not looking forward to being that silly.

The teenagers sang a lot (the popular songs of the day), boys and girls alike, which surprised me. Maybe that's just what you do when you're on top of a big rock. They were all very quiet at night. In fact, the whole place was more quiet than I've ever experienced at a full campground. It was incredibly peaceful, which is something I don't take for granted after a few bad experiences in summers past.

Shaun bought magnesium flints for the boys. They spent many hours generating sparks and then trying to start a fire. It's a good thing their survival didn't depend on it.

I guess we weren't in much of a wet and sandy mood this year, because we hardly spent any time at the beach.We did drive to nearby Long Beach to watch a movie. Going to the movies may sound like a lame thing to do on a camping trip, but camping trips are pretty much our only vacations, so we pack them full of special-occasiony things. Like giant doughnuts. 

(Unlike last year, nobody even noticed.)

We finally made it to Fort Clatsop, a recreation of the fort Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery stayed in from December 1805 to March 1806. They've done a nice job with it. Walking through the rooms made it easy to imagine what life there must have been like.

We went to a talk and demonstration about the firearms the Corps had along. Weirdly, I found myself wanting to own a powder horn. They are beautiful objects.

This fellow assisted in the demonstration. I had to include him for his outfit.

Fire! Shaun tells me this is a black powder flintlock rifle. The ammo was a spit wad manufactured before our very (somewhat grossed out) eyes. 

While I really enjoyed all of the furnishings in the fort, my favorite thing might have been learning (in a visit to the interpretive center) that Lewis and Clark referred to moccasins as "mockersons." I don't know why it struck me so, but now I have a hankering to read a novel about hill people who live in villages alongside crafty talking alligators and teach their children to make their own mockersons out of squirrels when they turn five.

My other favorite thing was this waste receptacle. Seriously. It was like a piece of fine furniture just sitting out in the woods.

Back at the campground, we hiked to a lighthouse we hadn't visited on our last trip. Before we left for home, we drove around and noted the numbers of the more secluded campsites. That way we can avoid being in our neighbor's laps next time around.

Overall, we would have enjoyed more sunshine and more privacy. But when you get right down to it, all any trip needs is a campfire and a good book to be counted a total success.

Mission accomplished.


eric O said...

super cool. i took dietrich and lev camping a few weeks ago. i can't imagine how different my kids' experience must have been from your kids'. shaun, the outdoorsy, gadgeteer dad vs. eric, the cranky pseudo-philosopher/theologian dad. we had lots of fun though and i was the king of the world for serving cheetos as a side and limeade for dinner and breakfast. like a dork, i didn't take my phone on any hikes the first day and didn't turn off data-roaming so it was dead by the next day. not a single photo. that's bad for blogging.

Gypmar said...

Cheetos are key -- we had those too! I'm sure you made some awesome memories for your boys.

Saaaad about the phone. Shaun and I got in the habit of putting ours in airplane mode in the woods since we go out to see his folks so often and have to do it there :)