Thursday, May 30, 2013

Camping, part deux

Four days. Three nights. Two people. One tent. 


That could be a really long time.  I'm sure if you'd put my sister and I through that scenario when I was about fourteen and she was eleven one of us wouldn't have emerged from the tent.

With 25 though, it was easy.  Beer lubricated the trip and we took advantage of the woods to be grimy and not shower.  That said, I was still happy to be with him and we merrily laughed our way through the weekend.

To make the most of the Memorial Day weekend we headed to the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain range here in Washington State.  Our original destintation on Mount Rainier wasn't looking very promising as the weather reports got worse and worse as we approached Saturday. The switch in locale was a bit greater than I anticipated, granted I hadn't given it much thought other than to want a place with sun.

We ended up at Osborn Bay which is part of the Steamboat Rock campgrounds. It was a small loop of approximately fifteen campsites right on Osborn Bay lake that connects to the much larger Banks Lake. The sites were plenty big for just the two  of us but they were fairly close packed.  When we camp on the western part of Washington there are lots of trees around that give the allusion of separation and space.  Eastern washington was a desert until the Grand Coulee Dam irrigation project made farming an option there. Trees were few and far between.  The surrounding area was mostly sage brush and more than once we commented how it reminded us of the trip we took to Arizona last month.

25 and I had a one night "trial" camp trip recently and did well.  This time, we'd augmented our gear and planned for a longer stay with more meals. It all panned out. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  We didn't get on each others nerves, even when we were both a bit anxious about finding a site on the first day.  The weather was fantastic and I've officially started my tan for the year. I got a record low six mosquito bites.  I usually get that many just walking the dog at home!

A hike up Northup Canyon gave us amazing views of the canyons and coulee that glaciers had carved out tens of thoussands of years ago.

View from the parking lot of the Visitors Center
Steamboat rock is about a three minute drive from Electric City, and only another ten or so from Grand Coulee Dam. We checked out the visitor's center, made sure to go back at night for their educational but still really fun laser show projected on the dam and even went on a tour that took us along the top and inside. Thirty-three flavors of frozen yogurt were calling that afternoon and we made a stop in Electric City for that, ice at the smallest, most jam-paced grocery-cum-variety store then bought some firewood from a vet who was, very wisely, undercutting the surrounding store by a buck.

An arial view of the Dam to give you some comparison.  It is still the fifth largest dam in the world for output and was completed in 1942.
All around a stellar weekend.  I was lucky to have Tuesday off and 25 was able to request it off so we stayed three nights and didn't have to fight quite as much traffic driving home on Tuesday afternoon. My biggest disappointment of the trip was when we stopped in Ellensburg for lunch on the way home.  We'd planned for Iron Horse Brewery and they weren't open! Boo!

I suppose, if that's all I can find to complain about, I shan't complain at all. Fingers crossed that there will be time for more camping in July.  June is pretty much going to be work, work, work. 

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