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We enjoyed lots of walks in the woods last week. The forest is dominated by Western Larch trees with a good mixture of other species as well. There has been a lot of rain this month and everything is green, green, green! There were fewer flowers than I remember seeing in past years – maybe because we were a little later – but it seems like there should have been more. A pond below the campground was just a big puddle when we arrived and overnight it grew into a good-sized pond where Sky could swim. As the week went by, it shrank. Its water is overflow from the lake. We walked to see the Big Trees – two 900-year-old western larches that were spared when the area was logged back in the 1960’s.

We went camping last week. We went to our favorite little campground on a lake in the Okanogan Highlands, almost exactly one hundred miles from here but still in the same county. It was lovely. We walked in the woods, paddled on the lake, played dog games and ate good food. We saw some friends, listened to loons, Ken went fishing, and we generally relaxed. I tried some night photography but the nights are so short and I needed some sleep so I did not succeed.

I highly recommend a good campout.

We got out for a couple of days and it was marvelous! Friends took their RV up the Chewuch on Thursday and I managed to find them in a large dispersed site later on Friday. All the campgrounds remain closed. It was a long ways up the river before they were able to find a site and I was beginning to have my doubts. I knew that I was near the end of the pavement and they would not go any farther than that. And then, I found their sign! Whoo hoo! The girls and I made it! Ken was recording and joined us at dinner time.

We enjoyed socially distanced visiting, dogs playing, campfires and campfire cooking, hikes, wildflowers, the sound of the Chewuch and Andrews Creek at high water levels, birds and just being out. It rained a little but that gave me time to read in the afternoon while Ken napped and our friends made jewelry. We were offline and that’s a good thing. Hopefully we will get to go camping again soon.

This is the third year in a row we have camped at Lopez Island during the first week of September. We like it and we will keep doing it. This year three friends and Ken’s brother and his wife joined us along with a couple of strawberry blonde dogs. We had dinner parties every night, caught Dungeness crabs on three days, Ken and Carl and our Lopez friend David, fished and caught some salmon, played with dogs and we relaxed. It was a good time.

We were up early Monday morning and got out of here before 5 am! It was a struggle but worth it to catch the 9:30 ferry from Anacortes to Lopez Island. The weather was quite nice over there and we were anxious to try our hand at catching dungeness crabs. We arrived at Odlin Park around midday and set up camp next to some of our Methow Valley friends. Others arrived a little later in the day.

It was great to be out of the forest fire smoke and breathe fresh, clean air. The fires have really taken a toll on Methow Valley folks this year, both physically and mentally. The smoke has often been very hazardous to breathe and people are trying to stay inside as much as possible. Most people that move to the Methow are looking for an active outdoor lifestyle.

On Lopez, our friend David came by and was ready to set some crab traps and check some that he had put out earlier in the day. It was exciting to see the traps full of crabs. Many of them were not ‘keepers’ and had to be returned to the saltwater but we did find some legal males. All females have to be let go. We spent the afternoon settling in and before dinner time we returned to check and pull the traps out of the water and were delighted to find some more keepers! That evening we all got together for an epic dinner party with crab, spot prawns, pasta, fresh vegetables, dutch oven cobbler and blackberry crisp. The food was amazing and we were all so busy eating that I forgot to make any images.

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