I've gone on kicks (or bouts, if you prefer) of finding and documenting places I visited when I was younger. The creek by my house is one, and also a number of camping sites my parents and I stayed at. We camped at several different places. Washington is one of the most diverse states in the country for stuff like this. You have the option of the ocean, the mountains, or if you want to drive a little further, the desert. The ocean used to be my favorite because it was flat. And I was fat. And biking was a necessity. We would usually camp with my extended family who were a lot more active than I was. Some of the most interesting places I've visited were where the ocean and the cliffs meet. There were caves to explore, and driftwood to build things with, and once, even black sand.
(Not in this picture. But Kalaloch was one of the most interesting beaches around)
The water around here is very cold, but I was used to it. Once you're in, you never want to get out because with the wind, land is much colder. I would be forced to walk along the beach with my family, fly kites, and collect shells and interesting rocks. When I grew up, I also rented a scooter that you could drive along the beach, made picnic lunches, and sun bathed (when there was sun, which was like, never).
Now that I am older, I much prefer the mountains over (our) ocean. I can appreciate all the beauty around me. We have actual rain forests here, and trust me, they would take your breath away. Ohanapecosh is one of the most beautiful places I've camped at.
A lot of Washington's land is either owned by, or named after, Native Americans. If you want to camp in the "desert", one of the most notable places, and one of my favorites, is 8-mile Campground, which is 8 miles away from one of the coolest towns ever: Leavenworth. Ah, that rock. I finally found it. A huge L shaped boulder that my friend and I discovered back in the day. I swear it had to have been carved to fit perfectly for my ass, and it was poking out on the edge of a raging river. The BEST place to hang out, relax, and catch some rays. It took me a long time to find it. I'd had to visit a couple of different camp grounds before I did. My parents had no clue where it was, and all I could remember was that it had been in some mountains next to a river. Not very helpful. It also required a trek through the woods next to the river. I can't believe I finally found it. I <3 nostalgia.
(view from da Rock)
I actually don't much like the desert. I know a lot of people find it breathtaking, but I much prefer greenery. Actually, driving on my way to Lake Chelan for our Honeymoon I just about wanted to shoot myself because of the lack of anything to look at. (That pic still being in the mountains, it was something at least. Eastern WA is just... ugh)
Remembering back, I seem to have much more fun rediscovering these places than I did actually camping at them when I was younger. Sure, I had fun, but camping was also incredibly boring. Being a 90's child, I was raised on technology and so not having my computer or TV was almost unbearable. My parents did have a trailer with just enough room to sit at a table and cook a small meal. It had water, and a stove, and even an oven. The toilet was... nice. (The best ever, I mean, as I feared porta poties. Any campgrounds without running water were the worst.) My parents got to sleep in the trailer while I had my own tent. As a child, I felt almost like I was being punished. As an adult, I can see why they did it. Mom had the kitchen table/bed, Dad had the couch bed, and there really was no room left for me. The top bunk was barely low enough from the ceiling in order to sleep on your side. Very uncomfortable up there. Plus, dad snores like a chainsaw. I had a 10 person tent, and a queen-sized inflatable mattress. I was able to sprawl all my stuff out and it was my own little domain, which was kinda nice. I brought my tape player with me so I could listen to my music. I brought drawing supplies and my writing supplies, and whatever book I was currently reading. So, besides still being bored out of my skull despite all this, it was fun.
Before I go, I will tell one short story about one of my camping trips.
We were camping with my extended family: Uncle Clair/Aunt Shelly, and my Aunt Becky/Uncle David with their 3 boys that were pretty close to my age. I forget the exact campground (might have been Kalaloch), but it was at the beach near some cliffs. The boys and I went exploring near the rocks, and we found a few caves big enough to walk into. (Btw, I forget how old I was. 10-12 maybe?) I had the flashlight, and we walked into this cave that had a place you could squeeze by to go deeper. I flung the light around first, looking for anything dangerous. And then, I found it. A massive (okay, like 3 inches across) spider on the wall. I screamed like a banchee, and the boys freaked out too. (THEY didn't even know what I was screaming at!) I got stuck between the rocks. I was on my side completely, and I had to lift myself up a bit to get out. They helped me. We went back to the campsite and I told my parents about the huge spider. They weren't interested. (Hey, in WA, 3 inch spiders are massive, okay?) My uncle Clair said he would check it out. We went to show him (to prove that we weren't exaggerating, of course!) but the spider was long gone. I learned later that it was probably one of these *shivers in disgust*.
Anyway, that's it for Nostalgia, Volume I. Tune in next time for Volume II as I try to be more interesting!