We had a blast camping this weekend. One of the really cool things about living in Seattle is that you can be out of the city in not much time to hang out in some really beautiful spot. We took advantage of that this weekend and enjoyed some of nature's best.
At first we were planning to drive north and take a ferry to a remote island that is part of the San Juan Islands - which you can't even get to by car. We had trouble finding good campsites out there and found out that San Juan is the destination of the masses on Friday nights, so decided in the end to take a different direction that is less far away and easier to get to. We went West instead of North, but didn't want to miss the ferry experience so took a shorter ferry trip out to Bainbridge Island (a bedroom community of Seattle) and across that to the Kitsap Peninsula (a map of our route, starting with the ferry trip from downtown across the water to Bainbridge, is shown to the right). We camped on the Kitsap Peninsula just south of the Hood Canal that connects the peninsula to the Olympic National Park. This ended up being a great location - the Hood Canal is beautiful, and on Saturday we drove out to Olympic National Park for the first time, but I'll get to that later.
The campsite was not so great. We had five people and two tents, and I think the site was really meant for a smaller crowd. Plus it was all gravelly, so thank goodness we had brought air mattresses. I tried to take a picture after we pitched the tent but there was no room so all you can see in the picture are the tents. But behind the tents we managed to create a nice space to sit around the campfire, and once we got everything set up we roasted hotdogs and made s'mores and had a great time.
Right next door to us was a whole herd of Girl Scouts, who were polite and helpful and even gave us food (including maple syrup for our pancakes Saturday morning!). We were afraid they would keep us up all night but it turns out they were quiet and instead it was our snoring friend that kept us up all night (word of the wise: earplugs!). The campground was packed with people and it was a big party all weekend there.
Saturday we met up with some non-camping friends of ours and we went to Dungeness Spit, which is a 6 mile stretch of narrow peninsula (a "spit") with a lighthouse at the wee end of it (you can't see the lighthouse in the picture because it's too far away). Even though the spit looks like it's all beach in the picture, it's actually full of old driftwood and tons of wildlife - part of it has been designated a wildlife refuge. So we walked out on the beach as far as we could manage (we guess about 2 of the 6 miles total), then plopped down on the beach and played in the water and skipped rocks and such. It was incredibly fun. I still can't get over how surreal it is just to hang out at the ocean all day - I guess it takes a while to grow out of my midwest perspective.
Sunday morning we drove into the very Norwegian town of Poulsbo near our campsite and had some fancy pastries, and romp in the ocean-side park, and then ate fish and chips for lunch before heading home. Poulsbo was a fantastic little town full of interesting little shops and we will definitely go there again.
We were very pumped about the whole camping scene. Now that we have a nice tent and most of the things one needs to camp, we feel like we should do it some more. Another group camp in September is already in the works, and who knows what other opportunities may arise - and now we are all set and ready to go.