Two small children are currently snuggled up in their bunks dreaming about a fantastic long weekend on the Washington coast. They may be bitter and somewhat annoyed at Mummy and Daddy because today they were forced to spend hours strapped into car seats traveling far away from the beloved beach and back towards home, where they then had to endure a grueling shower to wash away the encrusting sand and beach grime. Once refreshed they then weren’t even allowed to wriggle happily down into the depths of their cosy sleeping bags but instead had to return to boring old sheets and duvets, however, they are hopefully having colourful dreams of fantastical kites performing beach ballet and diggers hard at work constructing swimming pools amongst giant driftwood mansions.
In the early Spring a chance playground conversation with a fellow kindergarten mum alerted me to the wonders of Cape Disappointment State Park, and when I realised it’s proximity to the annual Long Beach Kite Festival, whose promises of a fluttering skyline had already caught my eye, my interest was truly piqued. Unfortunately I could only howl in disappointment myself when I went online and found that even in cold, miserable, rainy February all the camping reservations were already optimistically booked solid for the Summer.
But wait! I noticed a little snippet of infotext that indicated that certain prime campsites were held back from reservation until the dangers of erosion from winter storms had passed and they could be deemed fit for occupation. There was still hope, and I held onto that tendril of cheer by setting a calendar auto alert to remind me to get right back on chasing that booking when the State Park raised the green flag.
The day came, I was in the right place with my fingers hovering above the keyboard and I snagged a camp site right by the beach. Camp B, site 104. It was only available for three nights, but those nights did coincide with the closing days of the 2012 Long Beach Kite Festival. Score!
It was then that I sent my husband an email invite informing him that we were going to be dusting off the trusty Kingdom 6 camping palace and roughing it with the kids (and dog) at the end of August.
As our long awaited departure drew closer the short lived Summer waned in Seattle and the returning chill to the air brought concern. We’d camped with the kids before. We’d survived and even had a great time, but that was in the warmer climes of the Southern states. Would we be able to cut camping in Washington?
I packed what I thought would surely be at least three times as many clothes as necessary into our bags, and surreptitiously crossed my fingers. I probably should have packed more. Three days of camping and I was soon scrounging around trying to pull outfits for the kids together. Though, it was not the challenging weather that demanded such an excess of wardrobe changes. Having driven through the state park and past numerous throngs of campers packed together in open fields with little regard to personal space we were pleasantly relieved to find our reserved camp site amongst a small cluster of more secluded pitches nestled under the trees. Behind our site, just past the tree line and over a dune, Benson Beach with its incredible piles of sun bleached driftwood and streaks of fine black sand awaited. Through the tree canopy we had a view of North Head Lighthouse busy warning seafarers passing by the Columbia River mouth. A couple of narrow trails led the way through tall grass inviting exploration, and Sam and Bea clambered out of the car and immediately set to playing in the fire pit.