The call of the mountains

As I sip a hot mug of Vashon Island Costa Rican Reserve, I close my eyes and imagine I’m here…

mountain photo

…pulling back the tent flap, breathing in that crisp mountain air, and looking out with awe and appreciation. The camp fire is crackling and emitting its strong, sweet aroma. I take a seat in one of our low, polyester camp chairs. My legs swung over one arm rest, and my back pressed against the other. The same mug of coffee, enhanced through the process of camp fire percolation, warms my hands.

There are just too many beautiful things in this world to be thankful for, and the mountains are top on my list. Obviously, I’ve got camping on my brain. I love the smell of campfire. Some folks can’t wait to wash up and rid themselves of the stench. But, like paint or oil pastels smeared on my hands after an art project, I revel in the grubby sensations and scents. I take pride in ownership.

When the winter is dark and cold, I dream about spring and summer. I get inspired and start planning our weekend getaways. Spots fill up fast, and there are certain locations we definitely want to revisit.

I’m thinking more strategically this year. We’ll hit the mountain sites early before fire season really kicks in, and the Forest Service bans open flame. Of course, we’ll visit the Okanogan Valley. That’s my power place–where I go to rest and rejuvenate. It’s where I touch the Great Spirit.

Map of Okanogan County

Then when the temperatures are really high, we’ll head over to the coast and bask on those temperate beaches and feast on Dungeness crab. There’s just something about the ocean that’s so invigorating and cleansing. I think it has something to do with the ocean breeze. It sweeps past your cheeks, maybe causing your eyes to water, and makes your skin tingle. Then there’s the sand. After a day at the beach, your skin is scrubbed clean and smooth. Sure you’re left with a bucket of sand in your shorts, but it’s worth it. Don’t you think?

Map of San Juan islands

My calendar isn’t complete. I’m open to suggestions. What are some places you’ve visited and recommend? They need to be family-friendly, though. Extreme backwoods camping will have to wait until the kids are a little older.

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9 thoughts on “The call of the mountains

  1. Nice post! Oh this time of the year, it festers the camping itch in me too. And your first paragraph didn’t help. Nicely crafted!

    Kid friendly places to go camp you say? Have you ever checked out the Badlands NP in South Dakota? It’s something totally different than you’ve ever seen probably. One of my favorite places in the world are the Grand Tetons, in Wyoming. Or Rocky Mountain National Park. Oh, there are just too many places. My suggestion is to just go. Go and be free, and tarry under the whispering pines. And indeed, start the children early to the outdoor life, in hopes that maybe,someday, whence they are older, they’ll want to go again with you.

    Take care

    • Thanks, Patrons of the Pit. These are fantastic suggestions for a long weekend (or longer) trip. I think the Badlands might make my list this year. I’ve never been there before. That’s reason enough for me.
      P.S. Love your comment about the “whispering pines”.

  2. Wow, I was sure the photo was nabbed from the internet, but go Ian! Also, one of my favorite places to camp is at Mountain Lake on Orcas Island. Also, Doe Bay Resort on Orcas is great if you don’t mind having a door to open instead of a tent flap. The word “resort” is misleading as this is really a hippie enclave with very rustic cabins (and clothing-optional hot tubs).

    • I’m going to check out Mountain Lake on Orcas Island. I’ve never camped on the islands, and I really want to go this year. Thanks for the suggestion, Annie.
      P.S. I’ll let the hubs know that you like his photo.

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