My son and I decided that 2014-2015 was to be the year of the monthly camping trip. We have done well on our family promise, if you count November and December as one month. Between the end of soccer season, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, that is all we could work in. The day after Black Friday, we woke up to snow in the Northwest. The streets cleared by noon, so snow didn’t deter us from heading over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to Penrose Point State Park. Nor did the “Severe Sidewinds” sign flashing before we drove over the bridge. I had a flashback from Honors Algebra: the “Galloping Gertie” black and white footage that illustrated the principle of harmonic motion depicted by the collapsing Tacoma Narrows Bridge. I decided to ignore my Central Mid High education and we made it across the bridge without incident. When we arrived, we saw a ranger! And it appeared that we would have the entire campground to ourselves! We did.
The campground host site was available for $29 and had electrical and water/sewer hookups. We brought nothing to plug in, so took an “economy” site. We took a walk near the water, and beat the darkness back to our camper by getting in it at 4:00 PM. We had skipped lunch, and were very hungry for the cabbage pancakes that my husband was going to make. Except I forgot the cabbage. This has been a camping theme lately, forgetting a major meal ingredient. We reheated the homemade Cream of Celery Root soup I had brought for lunch the next day, and depleted the hot chocolate and decaf tea supply. My husband was ready to bake Christmas cookies, part of our “what to do in the camper when it gets dark at 4:00 plan”, but I had forgotten the sugar as well (but remembered the cookie cutters and the rolling pin: there must be points for that careful planning). I brought the Christmas cards to address, so that little holiday job got done. I wished for some of those ridiculous-looking down booties because the floor was very cold. We watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and bundled up to go to sleep. It was probably only 9:00 PM at this point. The predicted overnight low was 27 degrees. I had a mother-panic that my kids would be too cold. So I put them both in the front bed with me, toddler in the middle flanked by a seven-year old and Mom. We were actually pretty cozy.
We awoke to a rare sunny December day and took a 3 mile hike around Penrose Point. It was a perfect family hike through the forested areas with occasional glimpses of the water.
There was enough uphill to feel like you got a bit of exercise without totally wearing out my 3 year old daughter. The day use area had fantastic fire-pits with benches right next to the water. Since we never unhooked, the pack up went quickly and we headed to Gig Harbor for my favorite pizza at Pizzeria Fondi (since we had already eaten our lunch for dinner the previous night).