Feed on

It’s the outdoors. I need them.

Which is why I’ve camped multiple times with the kids these last several summers even when Troy couldn’t come. I’ve lasted a night on a leaky air mattress with Silas and noted with crushed hips that only one of us was still off the ground by morning. I’ve packed coolers, calculated food, crammed in camping chairs and gone the extra mile for firewood. I’ve hovered over kids lighting fires, rolled sleeping bags, found lost flashlights without a flashlight and wrestled the swollen tent back in the bag.


Because getting outside doesn’t just happen.

And it didn’t just happen on this trip either. But sharing the responsibility of kids and fires and coolers with Troy made camping less of something I barely survived, and more of something we’re all still talking about.

We’re in the Olympic National Park at Heart ‘o the Hills campground–a place, having lived in Washington for decades, that we should have visited by now.

But it’s a ways from home. Just under 3 hours in early Saturday morning traffic. And maybe too far to drive without a camping reservation. On Memorial Day weekend.

But as the camp sites in the national park are filled in order of first come, first served, we left home hopeful.

We weren’t first, but we were so thankful to be served.

A half mile from our camp ground is the Lake Angeles Trail.

What didn’t get thought through as well as it should have was how warm it was, how salty the chips were we just ate and how far we had to go with the amount of water we brought.

Might as well soak our heads.

At least we won’t feel as thirsty.

For the next ten feet.

Green. That’s what this place is.

And every moment we take to look up from our feet, the view is trees.

Trees and sunlight and rocks.

And the trail is steep. No scooting along picking daisies.

It feels like we ought to be finished by now.

In fact, some of us feel finished.

But the trail keeps climbing into the snow line.

Which, if you’re low on water and you’ve left your Life Straw behind, is about the best news you can find.

Made it.

Lake Angeles.

Still thawing.

It’s sunny, but the temperature of the lake is like ice cubes.

Which means nothing to some.

The trail’s a whole lot easier going back.

Even smiling is easier.

And since our legs aren’t having to lift themselves anymore, even a patch of shaded trees is worth pausing to notice.

And a burned out tree.

And the last of the sunlight coming through the trees.

Hotdogs. That’s all anyone’s thinking of about now.

Hey. A tree we never noticed on the way up.

And a stream.

We can smell the trailhead.

And here we are.

Our favorite part of this sign is where somebody inked in “more like 5” after the 3.7 mi.

We’re all for accuracy.


Speaking his language.

With a little help.

Tent to himself.

Good night.

Good morning.

And good bye.

What the van smelled like.

What he smelled like.

For days.

Last stop: Hurricane Ridge.

What a place. What a view.



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