We’ve spent a few hot days at Silver Lake already this summer, so when we planned this camping trip our intention was sunscreen, floaties, kayaking, and retreating to the shade once the sun got to be too much for us. Instead? We drove toward Mt.Baker in a misty rain, watched the temperature drop each mile, and a heavy fog descend. We camp often enough that I’d packed us all warm layers and an extra fleece, but other than that I was a little worried about how we’d spend our grey trip.
Allowing kids to ‘get bored’ is a hot topic. One I don’t really even have an opinion on because it’s just a part of our day-to-day, keeping my kids constantly entertained isn’t on my radar. My kiddos often ask me “what should we do now” and my refrain is always the same “play together” and eventually, they do! There are a few minutes of parallel play, bumping up against each other’s ideas (I think of it as a super shortened version of storm/norm/conform/perform) each morning or lull during the day. But once they’ve made it through that, the adventures happen! Play flows freely, and ideas are abundant!
Thankfully as we were setting up our camp it became increasingly clear that our kiddos couldn’t care less about the weather! Where sand, sun, and the beach were lacking… boots, mud fairies, climbing, and board games were abundant! And we got off to a quick and great start. Silver Lake’s sites were big and deep, many trails that led to the field behind the camp ground and were perfect for exploring (they even found a little creek with 100’s of tad pols!). The girls took off quick and got in deep with an adventure creating fairy food. Finding nearly ripe salmon berries, pine cones, dirt, and ash from old fires; creating a feast for the fairy folk they are 100% sure live just out of sight.
This game of fairy adventures continued over the entire camping trip as an unending thread. The amount of time spent and creativity expended when there are no screens, no distractions, and a gaggle of kiddos is epic and impressive. It fills me up to the top to see my girls brains working hard as they solve problems and create new and deep scenarios to play through.
Another facet of cool weather camping that is paramount. . . a warm fire. There is little I love more than sitting by a camp fire with a hot drink and a good book. This 48 hour quick trip gave me just that. Because of the cooler temperatures we spent the majority of our day’s at the site around the fire. Charlie kept it roaring most of the day, and I made it through the better part of two books.
Charlie and Eliza are always the first to rise, so starting around 6am they snuggled up and started the fire. Slow and steady we all trickled out of our tents. And Charlie had water hot, and Eliza kept my seat warm.
This camping trip also brought a first for us! Camping SANS stove. We cooked all of our meals on our fire and it worked SO well. I left feeling inspired to meal plan more camp fire meals for our next trip too! I’d pre-made foil dinners (chicken, carrots, halved potatoes all doused in BBQ sauce), burritos specific to each of our tastes, and brought a pancake mix that you just add water to (a new Paleo mix from Costco!) we brought a cast iron pot and skillet, and with just two two we were good to go! I also packed some cold salads and chia puddings as back up! We ate well ALL trip long.
This trip was our first with a 6 and 8 year old who are solid sleepers, adventurous players, and willing eaters. It Was Amazing. I could feel our past few years of camping paying off. Both girls slept well (sleep masks for the win!), ate what I packed without much fuss, and happily peed in the woods. There is a special kind of magic that comes with experience, and being past the window of napping/nursing/bed time dependence, I’m soaking up every trip that highlights it.
We got to drive this bright cherry-red Mazda Cx-5 Grand Touring AWD and I’ll admit. . . I was nervous it wouldn’t have the same capacity to fit our, decidedly not ‘light packing’ on this first camping trip of the year. But I was incredibly happy that we fit endless air matresses (glamp, ya’ll!), yoga mats, a gigantic cooler, a big bin of extra camping supplies, kiddo’s huge body pillow (that has become her ‘lovie’) as well as us four and a dog! Everything fit without a hitch, and the car was LUX.
My favorite features are the auto setting windshield wipers, as the PNW can go from torrential to a mist (esp up in the mountains) and back again in a moment. As well as the projected (on the windshield so you don’t have to look down) speed and speed limit. Driving on unfamiliar country roads it’s easy to be clueless about the speed limit, this helped a TON. I also got to use the heated wheel and seats since our trip was unexpectedly chilly and it was SO cozy feeling after a cold night.
Huge thank you to Mazda for letting us try out this fun ride on our first camping trip of the season. We felt safe, speedy, and best of all? Cozy and warm! I was blown away by how much it held, how incredible the speaker system, and how zippy fun it was to drive!
Our family LOVES to camp! Here are a few other adventures we’ve taken and shared about;