The Back-To-School campout was a last-minute thing; what I’d planned for our second camping experience was a two night stay at Fort Stevens state park, and that has now been accomplished. This was Camping Lite again — even lighter, this time, as we stayed in a deluxe cabin with electricity and a shower. But this made for a very easy couple of days. Other than the fact that the cabin doors had handles rather than knobs and therefore Mica could let herself out, the space was simple and essentially baby-proof. (She discovered her ability to open the doors within an hour of arriving and I must admit that the power rather went to her head.)
Outside was a veritable paradise of woods, a long narrow lake, sandy beaches, climbing-accessible trees, and the ocean. (Also the fire pit, which Mica found fascinating but fortunately also a bit intimidating.) I’d chosen Fort Stevens not only for the deluxe cabins but also for the wide variety of activities available, and it totally paid off. One morning the kids and I took a long walk around the lake, picking huckleberries and climbing a handy leaning tree. We visited both the Russell Battery and Fort Stevens itself, although we didn’t give the latter nearly as much time as it could have warranted. Ryan liked talking about big guns and they both liked exploring dark, echoing spaces.
Visiting the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the trip. The simple and miraculous joining of ocean to land was plenty to entertain the children by itself, but with a skeletal iron structure to climb on, and dodge waves near, and jump off of, they could have stayed for hours more — and that was before they discovered the fun of running and sliding down huge dunes of sand. Mica, after being thoroughly soaked and deciding she was done with the water, spent her time playing in the sand and trying hard to investigate a dead sea bird.
The final verdict was that two days was not enough. In addition to my month and year calendars, I now need to work out a multi-year planning system, so that in a few years I can be reminded to book a more extended stay.