Sunday, September 20, 2015

Olympic Peninsula Camping in the Rain

Our family went tent camping this weekend and it turned out to be quite an adventure!  Although I camped a lot in college, it's been 20 years since I last pitched a tent. My husband hadn't been camping since his youth and DJ's knowledge of camping began and ended with the Daniel Tiger episode, "Backyard Camping".  But our local homeschool club planned a group camp outing for this weekend and we signed up back in August to attend.

Of course no one knew until last week that is was going to rain and despite the forecast of rain, we did not know it would rain all.weekend.long!!  In the Pacific Northwest we're used to light rain showers that come and go throughout the day, not the pouring deluge that we experienced this weekend.

But still we braved the trip and are so happy we did. The campground was on the Pacific Ocean on the tip of the Olympic Peninsula. It was beautiful. DJ, in particular, had an awesome time!  He headed out on his bike with his rain coat and boots while we set up camp. I didn't get any pictures the first night because I couldn't risk getting my iPhone wet.

We had purchased a new tent for this adventure and as we were ready to put it up in the downpour, we couldn't find the instructions. And of course we had no internet or cell service so Google wasn't going help us. We decided to just wing it and I was thrilled that my college experience came back and the tent went up without a hitch. We finally found the instructions in the bag of tent stakes. The last place we'd ever look!

We then met up with the rest of the homeschool group for a potluck dinner. Eight of the 11 families that had signed up for the weekend gathered in the sogginess. Pacific Northwesterners are hardcore!  DJ was thrilled to play with all the kids, although he was the youngest.
By the time we headed to bed by flashlight he was soaked from head to toe. His rain jacket is cute but it is NOT waterproof. The first photo I managed to take was a dry child in footy PJs, curled up in his own sleeping bag, on a child-size cot, playing games on his iPad. He was asleep in moments.
The next morning the rain subsided enough for us to try our camp stove for the first time, which did not work. Fortunately we brought cereal, milk and fruit so breakfast was still possible. While DJ & dad worked on the stove I took some time to take pictures of our campsite.
For this photo I'm standing at our tent and that building in the right background has the bathrooms. Yay!  When you have a kid, this is one of the most important parts of tent camping.  There was also a lot of space for DJ to ride his bike under the beautiful trees.
Also standing at the tent and turned to the left you can see the beach and the Pacific Ocean below a small cliff. The beach access was down the road just two campsites away. You can also see the provided picnic table that we never used because it never really stopped raining.
Walking across the road for a closeup of the beach, which had beautiful waves, I saw some of the homeschool group headed out to the water. So I called for DJ to join me while dad tried to start a fire and we went down to the beach as well.
The weather for once let up and the walk across the stand was really interesting. Apparently this beach is home to a lot of crabs and even more birds that like to eat them. The sand was littered with crab carcasses which gave DJ & I a chance to talk about exoskeletons, invertebrates and food chains. Homeschooling happens everywhere!
We then joined the homeschool kids and learned just how crazy they can be. Most of them were barefoot, playing in the water. Some were wearing shorts and no coat.
A few were playing in the sand, building a city I think I heard. And then this happened...
DJ abandoned his boots and joined the kids frolicking in the waves.   I stood with some of the other parents, laughing at the silliness of it. I didn't manage to get a photo of DJ in the ocean though. I think this is the first time he's actually been in ocean water.
By the time we got back to camp, dad had a fire going and we ate a lunch of hot dogs and s'mores. It wasn't long though before the rain started back up again. But nothing could dampen DJ's spirits. This child was made to play outside and he played his heart out this weekend.

I am so grateful for an awesome homeschool group that pulled us out of our routine into an amazing family adventure!


  1. "Homeschooling happens everywhere!" ... love it!
    We got soaked down to our undies, but it was so beautiful.

    1. Yeah, we brought home a trash bag full of drenched clothes but the experience was so worth it! What a beautiful campground. I can't wait to go back.

  2. "Homeschooling happens everywhere!" ... love it!
    We got soaked down to our undies, but it was so beautiful.