Saturday, October 17, 2020

Labor Day Camping at the Beach

 Last year I had wanted to come on this trip with Cortney and her family but was unable due to a last minute trip from my in-laws to the Seattle area (in which Kaylee almost got hit by a car in Seattle...) I vowed that this year I was reserving myself in advance and would not be missing it.

(Also, new blogger sucks and when you mass import photos it puts them in newest to oldest order which is just asinine)

I started prepping the weekend before, which was ideal since E is working 12 hour shifts which leaves me alone with kids most nights of the week. 
Outrageous WA hay bale prices suddenly seem reasonable when you compare to the rabbit hay bag prices. Now I have probably a years supply of rabbit hay, lol

Cleaning the trailer at home!

Hazel helpfully loaded some of her horses

We left Friday around noon and picked up Gwyn before hitting the road south and west. I was hoping to avoid some of the holiday traffic and utterly failed. My route south could not avoid Seattle, Tacoma, JBLM (Joint Base Lewis McCord) and Olympia and we hit slow downs in each city before finally turning west (had to go down around Puget Sound and the Olympics) toward the coast. My ETA increased by 45 minutes from when we left the barn to when we actually arrived. There were miles of travel where our drive time didn't change because traffic ahead just got slower and slower. 

But we arrived with plenty of daylight left! Space had been saved for us, as well as a pen for Gwyn. We got to work getting everything set up from the tent for the family and Gwyn's amenities as well. Gwyn settled in quickly and eagerly made friends with her neighbor, Faheed, who proceeded to love on her too. Our campsite was large, and very much separate from the few other groups who were also there. We were with our expanded little social circle and still very much able to be socially distant from strangers.

What we didn't anticipate, was the temperature. It had gotten near to 90 as we were driving and was suddenly 20 degrees cooler (high 60s) at the campsite. We were cold and didn't pack appropriately. Thankfully I brought extra jackets so we could adapt. 
But I also forgot sleeping bags for me and Erica. Go me, lol. Also thankfully, Trudy over prepares so she Mom'd us and provided sleeping bags. Still, evening temperatures were downright pleasant compared to the last few times I've camped and it's been below freezing, hahh.
Hazel was adamant that we go see the beach so we took a walk across the dunes to the Pacific Ocean. 
The trail was directly off of our campground and was for non-motorized use. It meandered through protected fore dune habitat and was so pretty but a slog in deep sand!

Hazel was not put off by cool weather and a breeze and insisted on stripping and getting in the water.

Freeeee as a bird

The skies were gray and gradually the light became dimmer and dimmer. We hiked back to camp and settled in with dinner. Kids got to have fun with roasting marshmallows on the fire. It's nice to camp with someone who comes with a literal camper packed full. The fire was powered by butane so there was no fussiness or threat of sparks.
Kaylee got into my phone and decided selfies was a great way to wake up once it was light out.

Hazel remained passed out for a while. Both kids slept really well in the tent. The adults? Not so much. I need way more padding than I had.
Once breakfast was had, it was beach ride time! We woke up to chilly fog but by the time we rode, the sun had burned it away and we had gorgeous weather.

The 'road' to the beach

Centaur selfie ;)

Gravel road eventually gave way to sand through the high dunes. According to the camp porta potty literature, we were traveling through protected seashore nesting areas. No motor vehicles were allowed on these paths toward the water. Just humans, horses and dogs and even then, we had to stick to the path.

Glimpses of water
This is Gwyn's first time at the beach and she did pretty well. She was a little nervous about the waves coming in and out and was unwilling to get close to the water at first. If a wave started coming toward her, we were very suddenly teleporting AWAY from the ocean.
With time though, and support from other horses, she got closer and closer and began to relax.

After that ride was lunch time! Kaylee and Hazel both agreed to pony rides to the beach after lunch. Hazel was nervous, but kept telling me she wanted to stay on and go to the beach. Turns out, she wanted to use the pony as a conveyance to the beach so she wouldn't have to walk through the sand.

We turned around at the water and walked back to camp to exchange who was riding.

Kaylee was better but then we ended up having an incident out at the water, where the pony spooked, dumped Kaylee and took off into the dunes. I had a terrifying moment of "who do I stay with... that's not my pony... but that's my kid"

I stayed with Kaylee and thankfully some of the rest of our camping group was walking on the beach and I was able to have one of them follow the pony on foot while the rest helped Kaylee onto Gwyn with me and I raced back to camp to get Cortney and deliver Kaylee to Erica.

Kaylee ended up with a sprained ankle from the fall and Cortney and I raced back out to the dunes to track the pony from horseback.
We disregarded the rules (but... lost pony is kind of a good excuse, imo) and set off to meet with the person on foot. He'd followed the pony to a point but the brush got too thick and he lost the trail. We tried exploring further, calling for the pony (Comet) but had no luck. We covered a TON of ground though searching.  We returned to camp empty handed.
I took Kaylee to the store to get a few first aid supplies for her foot and some different food for dinner because despite my best efforts, she's a picky eater. I also grabbed her a sweatshirt for warmth and she ended up matching some others so we had a tye dye sweatshirt group photo.


Sunday morning Cortney and Robin headed out for a morning ride since Robin was planning to leave that day. While they were gone, we got a call that the pony had been found! I immediately got my truck and trailer ready since I was the most mobile horse transport of the group. Trudy and I drove a few miles south to another horse camp where Comet was waiting in a round pen for us. We had put word out the night before and let the owners of our campground know and asked EVERY other group going out to ride to keep their eyes peeled.

Turns out Comet had traveled way further south than Cortney and I realized but he was found and was uninjured. There was palpable relief with him back at camp and it meant that we could proceed with the planned photo shoot!

Splendid was very excited about food prep.
But first, Cortney and I went for a nice long beach hack without the stress of a missing pony.

I love how you can see the wall of fog sitting just off the shore here. It would push in periodically through the day. 
We're looking south, about 40 miles away, as the crow flies, is where the Goonies was filmed.

Then it was time to prep for my photoshoot on the beach with Dave! Gwyn did not care about the big, drapey thing on her.

I had one minor issue as I got on with this dress. I was not as nimble as usual. So when Gwyn decided she was NOT standing at the mounting block, I went over the other side of her. She broke her noseband (Cortney was trying to hang on to her) and I landed on my knee. I hopped back up and used a higher surface (Cortney's pick up bed) to get on but the damage had been done (to my knee).
Critical Role hoodie in the chilly fog plus wedding dress centaur selfie?

Dave got these awesome shots of me and Gwyn against the fog and waves. I'm going to see about finding someone to at least smooth the farmer's tan/sunburn transition ya girl's got going on and then having one or more printed on canvas. I am in love with these. Just absolute love.

We would walk down away from Dave, then come back up toward him. Gwyn kept wanting to veer off up toward the rest of the horses that were there. Cortney and her sister also got photos. Since this is an annual trip they make, I now want to have different costumes for pictures.  Current project goal is an Eowyn cosplay. Really, I just need to exude sword lesbian vibes from here on out.

The fog made it perfect and spooky

We had one last night around the campfire. I tried to stabilize my knee with my standing bandage which worked okay.  I had a hard time sleeping that last night as I realized my right knee couldn't bend... I had to get up to pee in the middle of the night only to find that I also needed assistance to just get up from the ground. 

Hobbling around camp the next morning helped loosen it, but the hours of driving back in the truck had me stiffen up again. I brought myself into urgent care first thing tuesday morning and came out with crutches and an appointment with an orthopedist. 

Thankfully, it seems like I just got a nice deep bone bruise, nothing more. But it still (present day)isn't 100% and it's been 6 weeks since I came off. 

That's 2020 for you, I guess.


  1. What an eventful camping weekend lol but it still sounds like you guys had some fun