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What do you do when you go camping? Sometimes I get asked that. On this last trip, there was a lot of sitting and watching the world go by. I saw a beaver and an otter, a couple marmots, lots of birds and turtles too and a few fish. The fish were trying to climb a long steep spillway into one of the lakes, just as if they were salmon returning from the sea, conquering waterfalls to return to the place of their birth. This little fish had no chance of conquering the spillway.

Dippers had a nest under a bridge. They went to and fro with nesting material and dipped for bugs.

And turtles. So many turtles. What do turtles do besides lay on logs in the afternoon sun?

We took the new camper to Blackpine Lake last weekend to try it out and look for any issues it might have. It was a good time to do it as we had rain and chilly weather. We found a leak but it was probably because the fan vent was not closed up tight. And we also discovered a power issue. Even though the thing is pretty new, it turns out the battery is bad. That’s easy enough to fix. Other than that, it all worked and was super comfy. I thought we could share the couch area with the dogs but they just took up more room than they did in the old camper!

Blackpine Lake is a new place for us even though it’s less than an hour from home. It is a Forest Service campground. We’ve been up there on day outings but this was the first time we camped there. No doubt, we will return. After Friday afternoon’s rain, the light on the mountains was unbelievable. The next morning was nearly as lovely. There is a nice trail along the lake and a couple of docks for fishing and swimming seems popular in the summer. I imagine it’s pretty busy during the warmer months but we had the place nearly all to ourselves. The forest around the campground is full of lovely large ponderosa pines, doug firs and aspens too. Really beautiful trees.

We spent last week camped at Odlin Park on Lopez Island in the San Juan archipelago. The weather was mostly lovely with just one windy day and we were able to be on the water a fair amount. Sky got to try dock diving and Luna poked around the wrack line for smelly stuff, occasionally going in the water. We set crab traps, lost two of them on the windy day, and Ken fished (unsuccessfully) for salmon. We shared good food with good friends at our beachfront picnic table. The day we left, wildfire smoke from Oregon and California filled the air and we were ok with the end of the camping trip.

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.

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