Camping in the PNW: Part 1
In Florida, you don't really get the chance to go camping that often. It's pretty hot, humid, and mosquitos rage all times of year, so it doesn't exactly make for the best situations. I also never really experienced camping prior to moving to the PNW and this seemed like the perfect year to take advantage. For one, I finally had a great group of friends who were as interested in spending their nights in the outdoors as I was. Secondly, I also felt settled in enough that I was able to splurge a bit and really invest in some camping gear. Lastly, summer was coming and I found myself really motivated to take full advantage of it this time.
Driving through the mountain highways hold some of my favorite sights. I used to loathe driving anywhere in Florida, even to Orlando because of how bare, flat, and boring the views could be. The only thing that was interesting along the way were the orange groves. Sticking your head out the window you would smell the crispy zesty aroma in the air. I'd trade those fond memories in a heartbeat for the evergreen air and mountainous views that makes up the backstreets in Washington.
One memory that sticks out the most from our first time camping was heading to this lookout we found just half an hour from our campsite. The area is very rural, having no cell service is pretty much the norm. We woke up at 4:30 am to catch the early sunrise and gorgeous pastel colors that stretched across the sky. Seeing that first hand as a backdrop to some of the most luscious snow-capped peaks really made the early drive worth every minute. I caught my friend Vincent sitting alone just beyond the barrier taking it all in. Often times as photographers you tend to forget to just sit back and enjoy the view. It's easy to get wrapped up in your framing, composition, and shutter speed. A minute too late and the views, colors, and sunrise in general is gone.
We spent the rest of our days relaxing, catching sunsets, cooking hotdogs, listening to music near the campfire, sitting by a (freezing!!!!) river, and eating cake. It was Vincent's birthday after all, what's a birthday without some cake!
After chasing light for a few days, we spent one night chasing the stars. We drove up to the nearest lookout from camp and set up our tripods. Shooting the night sky is hard, just like shooting sunsets you can't always anticipate the weather. Luckily there weren't very many clouds out that night. We were able to see the milky way even with our own eyes that had adjusted to the darkness. It's definitely a sight to see, I highly recommend driving out to the middle of nowhere away from the light pollution of the city. I've done this a few times now but every time still gets me as if it were the first.
The next morning was our last. After catching some photos from the stillness of the lake, we started to pack up. Even then we find ourselves taking photos, trying to hold onto the last bit of memories before we took off.
I am pretty jealous of states that have such amazing weather all year 'round for the simple fact that they have the opportunity to go camping whenever they'd like however, distance makes the heart go fonder as they say which is so true. I am already missing and reminiscent of the warm summer days and cool summer evenings. Next year can't come fast enough for some more campfire get-togethers and a chance to create new memories.