At the end of each day, after we read stories together, we tell the kids, “Get into your beds and choose who you want to be tucked in by.”
It’s really just a trick that we use to get them into their beds without a struggle. It works like a charm though. They select their parent (they always pick a different parent from each other), we walk over and cover them up. Within five minutes both kids are asleep, and I am not talking about a light sleep. We turn on lights and the TV and talk at a normal volume while they are crashed out just feet away. They stay in dreamland all night and around 7 or 8 o’clock they wake up, batteries charged, and it’s time to start another day of exploring. Seeing and learning new things together, as a family.
A couple weeks ago we backpacked in the prairie lands of Yellowstone National Park. We learned that the wildlife owns the night in Yellowstone and I wrote a blog post about it that I am dubbing The Halloween Special.
After that, we spent 4 nights in the Idahoan panhandle at Farragut State Park. It’s a really cool park just north of Coeur D’Alene that used to be a huge Navy training camp during the second world war. A lot of trainees returned to the area after WW2 and still live in the small town of Bayview, which is basically surrounded by the state park. The town offers a breathtaking view of Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced PONDER AYE) where the Navy still does underwater acoustic research. This mountain lake is almost 1200 feet deep (deeper than all of the great lakes with the exception of Superior) and there are navy submarines creeping around down there. This was a special town, no doubt.
|This is the Navy installment in town. It's blurry because I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be photographing it.|
The pinnacle of the town is a place called Ralph’s. It is a coffee shop that sells beer, offers a full menu and has a ton of historic photos and newspaper clippings plastered all over the walls. They are hung in decorative frames but you can tell these items are an accumulation that happened over time. Ralph looks after the Laundromat that is attached to his place and the two businesses seem to blend into one. A wifi offering, coffee/beer serving, Laundromat in the middle of a charming, mountain town…perfect.
On my first visit to Ralph’s I ordered a coffee, put on my headphones and proceeded to go to work on my computer. Within 20 minutes the small table I was sitting at became full of older townsfolk who were conversing around me as if I weren’t there. I took off my headphones and they immediately started including me in the conversation. It was that wholesome chatting that you hear old people doing at coffee shops but I got to be included in the chatter. As this conversation is happening, people are going in and out for smoke breaks while Ralph, the owner, sits at a nearby desk and chimes in occasionally. I came later that same day with the whole family and some laundry and they were all still there. They welcomed me back and we spent the evening doing laundry and getting to know a rotating cast of awesome locals.
After Idaho, we headed to Poulsbo, WA where we setup the RV in Kitsap Memorial State Park. It’s a kinda pricey, sorta conveniently located campground on the northern kitsap peninsula. You can drive 5 minutes and get amazing groceries from a fantastic grocer called Central Market. If you have ever been to Nino Salvaggio’s, imagine that and then add more of everything (they had 7 different kinds of kimchi). I think this place got our business 3 different times in 8 days.
|Everyone that works here is like a food expert. They know where EVERYTHING is and they love chatting.|
One of the days we drove 30 minutes to the ferry dock on Bainbridge Island and took the boat to Seattle. Jessica made it a field trip for the boys and showed them the famous fish market and took them to the Children’s museum. I found a well-polished coworking space to do work from. I brought my bike and got to ride around town after work and eventually met up with the rest of my family for pizza.
|Their field trip. You can see more photos on Instagram by following us at @YumFam|
|Messenger bag, pant leg rolled up, tight t shirt, trendy city and attempt at facial hair. I was a Seattle hipster for a day. Great bike town!|
As night fell we boarded the ferry back to our side of Puget Sound. The Seahawks were on Monday Night Football and the game was playing on the boat. I have mentioned before that I am fascinated with public transit and the Washington State Ferry system is no exception. These boats hold 200+ cars and have giant passenger cabins. They look like airports on the inside and you can’t even tell they’re moving.
One afternoon we went and checked out Hurricane Ridge in Olympic Nat’l Park. We took a short hike around the ridge and got into some stuff at the visitor center. Noah started his third junior ranger program and we grabbed some postcards. We also grabbed a backcountry map and talked to the rangers about backpacking the rain forest. The park is so huge and has so few roads that it takes you 2 hours to drive from the visitor center in Port Angeles to the Rain forest, on the western edge of the park.
On the morning of our trip we got on the road early and headed off to do some trekking. The rain forest was cold and wet and the ground was littered with snakes and insects. You could hear baboons, mountain lions and the faint sound of tribal drums roaring somewhere off in the distance. We learned the hard way why they call it a rain forest too. Torrential downpours the whole time…
If you have read any of my previous entries about what happens when we go backpacking, you might be expecting a description such as the one I just gave. I am sorry to disappoint but VERY HAPPY to report that we had a super awesome and hassle-free camping trip in the rain forest. Aside from the flock of ravens that ate my sandwich off the hood of the truck while we were gearing up, we didn’t have any animal encounters. The weather was perfect, the forest was beautiful and we all had a great time connecting with each other and nature.
A video of us hiking to our campsite.
A video of the kids running around camp after dinner.
A video of the forest in the early morning.
It’s easy to appreciate the comforts of our little camper after spending a night in nature. Not just because you are ‘rouging it’ in the extreme wilderness either. You get to connect with nature which has a way of helping you prioritize things in life. That connection is also one of the foundations of our family. We really dig the outdoors.
The night after our camping trip we read some chapters from James and the Giant Peach together and the boys went off to their beds to make their tuck-in selection. They only choose me because I do this bit where I talk with a Mexican accent and tell them how to wrap a burrito. They are the ingredients and the blanket is the tortilla. They choose Jessica because, well, she is the mom and everyone likes to get tucked in by mom sometimes. Noah took the burrito and Sam opted for mommy. Within a few minutes they were asleep.