Thursday, June 19, 2014

Camping - Scenic Beach

In an effort to follow my own advice and Get Outside, we set a date and went camping.  There was some research done as to where we would go; there are a lot of campgrounds around here.  In the end we decided to go to Scenic Beach State Park just outside of Seabeck. Nice, spacious camp sites surrounded by tall trees.  We are still early in the camping progression.  So we still need a lot of stuff.  As we learn and practice, we are going to try to lighten our load, perhaps enough to start hiking in or even through hiking places.  For now though, we settle for turning off the cell phones and enjoying the world around us.

First, we had to get there.  And it was a tortuous and epic 20 minute drive from Bremerton. We were distracted along the way by a bunch of people parked at the roadside in one area.  They all seemed to have cameras out.  Well, we have to stop and see what that is all about.  I have a camera.  It even has a new fangled zoomy lens on it that I haven't quite figured out how to use properly yet.

So, what were they taking pictures of, you ask?

Eagles, about a dozen of them. 

I called this one Baldy.  He and the others were feasting in the tide pools

There is Baldy coming in for a landing near Baldy and Other Baldy.

Hand held, full zoom, no focus.  Still working on it.
Then, like 6 minutes later, we were there.  Phones went off and we started setting up camp.  I think the site turned out really nice.

Max thought so too.

Bad part about zoom lens:  Must get far away to get everything in the frame.

And as soon as we got everything set up, we had to make our way down to this Scenic Beach we had heard about.  When we got there, the tide was mostly out.  Good hunting for the kids.


Hard at work collecting the local wildlife.

Poor crab never stood a chance.  Still trying to figure out how to do close up shots

You know, that zoom has to be good for something.

Oh yeah, ZOOM.
Then it was back to the camp site for roasted hot dogs, sausages and then some marshmallows.  All over an open campfire.  Heck, we should even make beans.

About that.  Now, I'm no survival expert, but I am reasonably adept at making a campfire.  That is unless you are in a rainforest.  This isn't, technically, a rainforest. But everything is wet.  I practiced the other day on the fire ring at the RV.  I managed to get the fire going with a magnesium block and flint and steel.  I was feeling pretty chuffed about it too.  I decided I would buy a bundle of firewood, they have a no firewood collection policy at this park, but I would build the fire using only local tinder, twigs and whatnot.  Yeah, not so much.  Turns out you need a lot of heat to get wet things to burn.  A lot.  It took forever to get that thing lit.  I grudgingly ended up using paper towels and a match, but I managed to get it going enough to cook the beans.  Sarah, wise woman, decided to go ahead and cook the beans over the small propane grill we had while I struggled.  "Yeah, honey.  You are doing great.  Why don't you get the grill going just in case." 

Lots of smoke, no fire.

Even Satchel got tired of waiting for the campfire.

You know, one carelessly discarded cigarette butt can cause a forest fire.  I was almost need of consultation with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to bring in a reactor to get a campfire lit. 

I did get it started well enough to cook the marshmallows though.  And so we had s'mores.

It's good Max, try it.  He just likes regular uncooked marshmallows.

Somebody likes S'mores.

Michael likes beer.
OK, it is a real beer bottle, cleaned out and filled with water.  Put down the phone. 

Then, eventually, it was time for bed.  We settled in for a fitful and rather cold night's sleep.  It was in the 40's and some raccoon or something kept scuttling about the campsite.  It wasn't bad though.  In the morning, I decided against going primitive and went ahead and started the fire with lots of paper and a match.  Worked much better.  I need more practice.  Some day I want to start one with a bow drill.  Someplace dry. 

We made our instant coffee and had some muffins and fruit.  Then it was back to the beach to see what today looked like.

And then back to the other world.  The one with employment and home repairs.   But also, warm showers and electricity.