Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Camping at Priest Lake

Last year Mrs. H, my best friend since 3rd grade, suggested that we go on a joint camping trip this summer. She and her husband settled in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and now that her children are school age they have been going on camping trips. I loved the idea and was happy to agree. Her very first camping trip was with my family when we were in 6th grade, which I don't even want to do the math on how long a go that was! Since we don't get to see each other all the time, I thought it would be a great way for the children to play.
They picked the location and prepped most the food. All we had to do was pack up our mirco van and cargo box with all our gear and drive 7 hours to get there. At least that's how long the drive would be without children and nursing. I like to break up the drive by stopping at the C&D Drive in in Boardman, Oregon. I love local burger joints, their prices are fair and their portions are reasonable. Plus they have milkshakes! I thought they offered butterscotch, which is my favorite, but they only had caramel on the menu, almost as good and I was able to nurse the baby. The second stop I like to make is in Ritzville, Washington. There is a coffeshop/diner in old downtown where I like to eat. The weather was so nice though we decided to just stop and find a park for the boys to run around. They have a great park with a public pool which I'll have to remember because it was hot!
We originally planned to stay at the H's house Thursday night because we'd be arriving so late, but as we neared Spokane we thought we could make it to the campsite before dark. That was before we drove through Spokane though, it took us so much longer than we anticipated and the roads north were slower than we thought. I will say this for the highway that runs north, there is a ton of great neon signage, if we had been there a touch later at dusk I would have taken some pictures.
By the time we finally made it to the campsite it was LATE! Good thing the H's had lots of lighting options and the guys put the tent up so we could get a tired baby back to sleep. We all pretty much went to bed so the boys wouldn't have to settle into the tent alone.
The next day we were able to go down to the lake and play on the beach. What a lovely setting, no wonder I have heard so many college friends sing the praises of Priest Lake.
The children also did a lot of bike riding as well as playing trucks in all the great dirt.The Hs are great innovators so between the boys in the previous pick you'll see the porta-potty they fashioned for little C. She does not like to have a BM in one of those adult size pit toilets, and who can blame her. This is a clever little way to keep her going on camping trips.
That isn't the nicest segue into dinner time conversation, but that's what's next. Mr. H also has a camp oven. This great wooden box covered in tin foil and heat resistant tape has a wire rack and temperature gauges inside. I had never seen such a thing, and Mr. W and I quickly fell in love! How had we ever gone camping before with out this?! Our introduction to the magic that is the camp oven was crescent rolls.You can see how nice and golden brown the get. The back cooks faster since it is reflecting the heat back so you have to rotate the baking sheet while cooking. Meanwhile Mr. W was grilling up some lamb kabobs for our Mediterranean dinner.
Baby Boy overseeing the process.
The H's have all the great camping gear. They sleep in a pop up camper, canoes and inflatable rafts, and have a nice shade tent that they set up over the picnic table. After dinner the children changed in to their jams to roast marshmallows over the fire and tell stories. Our Little Helper's new skill these days is hopping so you may see a lot of that in the photos. I don't wear make up when camping so no judgement please. :)Early the morning, and I mean early, we were up again and ready for breakfast. Some enjoyed a breakfast bar appetizer while waiting for the main course of......bacon and cinnamon rolls. Dang, I love this oven!!Mrs. H was making a camping delicacy called Pirate toast for breakfast which is a piece of bread with a hole cut out and you fry an egg in it. Flip. Serve with bacon. Such a clever way to keep the egs from getting all over the play.I waited as patiently as I could for breakfast to be served. I love baby tongues!After breakfast and cleaning up we headed down the hill to the lake shore where the children had made a lean to. I think someone else had stated this, but they sure took the idea and ran with it.Next year Baby Boy you'll be able to climb around scaring us half to death rather than just observing all the activity.Our big activity for the day was huckleberry picking and a hike which I'll save for another post.
After a hot dusty day picking berries and hiking most everyone wanted to cool off in the lake. I was able to take a few photos of the preschoolers.The fashioned a fishing pole and were intent on catching something.
That night after the children were in bed the adults took some trips down memory lane while sitting around the campfire.
In the morning we had to take some group shots of the children. Everyone is a big fan of Baby Boy.He was so popular this morning that everyone wanted a turn holding him for the photo. Big C was first.Then T.Followed by Lil C. So cute! I just can't get enough baby tongues! We took a few family shots by the lake.Including a best friends photo.The children said goodbye to their lean to.We all packed up and began the long journey home. We broke up the trip by stopping at the public park in Arlington . It is right by the river, but has a little swimming area, a big play structure and a field in which I could race and spin My Little Helper.
In spite of the distance I'm so glad we went, we all had a wonderful time together. We probably won't be able to make this an annual co-camping trip, but but hopefully every couple of years.

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