Friday, September 03, 2010

Camping at Penrose Point

For the past five years, a sub-set of the family has used the last weekend of August for our traditional camping weekend. We love to pitch our tents in some beautiful site, build fires, cook our meals over the coals, and then sit around singing songs and trading puns and word play. It's a great chance to catch up with one another before the craziness of the school year hits. This year, everything seems to have changed, but we still didn't want to miss out on this chance.

This year, we had a few more challenges than before. Not only do we have a new baby to think about, but my broken tailbone is still bothering me too. Nevertheless, we remained undaunted, so off we set for Penrose State Park near Purdy. The car trip was a bit uncomfortable for me, but the baby did a fabulous job and did not cry even once. After about an hour and a half of driving, we crossed over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. This was very exciting for all of us (having never been) since we've seen the old video of "galloping Gertie" many times. Luckily she stayed safely aloft for our trip over.

A little more driving brought us to the park where the rest of the family was already waiting. It is a beautiful park set on the water with the camp sites back in the woods. Sites are close together, but if you went on a less popular weekend, the might not be an issue. For us, it turned out to be a bad thing because the 50-something lady in the campsite next to ours decided to stay up late drinking boxed wine and talking, talking, talking about anything and everything. We heard her opinion on dozens of topics, but we did not hear quiet until two or three in the morning.

It was also a bit anxious to camp with the baby because the temperature got down into the low 50s, and it was very tough to be sure that she was staying warm enough. At one point in the night I found that she'd poked her little hand out of the blankets, and it felt as cold as a popsicle. I kept waking up to check that she was warm enough all night long. It was not what you would call a restful night.

The next day we did get the chance to enjoy the dramatic scenery. The park is surrounded on two sides by water, so there are many impressive views. Rocky beaches and mud flats are also common, and the girls had a wonderful time cruising the edge of the mud flats looking for sand dollars and tiny fish. There were kayaking and fishing opportunities as well, but we never got that far.

As much as we enjoyed ourselves on Saturday, as it got closer to bedtime, I just couldn't face another night in the tent. Our noisy neighbor was still in residence next door, and the overnight temperatures were not supposed to be any warmer. Thus we admitted defeat. After a lovely campfire dinner, we headed for home. Next time maybe we'll last the whole weekend. Still, I'm very glad we went.

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