Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission from the Northwest RVing Blog hosted by MHRV (Manufactured Housing and Recreational Vehicle) Show Association.
Written by Emily Helgeson
Growing up I spent a lot of summer weekends at Lake Desire– the lake my dad grew up on. As the years went on, we created an annual Father’s Day tradition of hiking the trail that lead to Echo Mountain, renamed or currently referred to as Cedar Mountain, overlooking Lake Desire.
As I grew up, got married and moved away, I joined in on this annual tradition less and less. But this year, not being pregnant, working or otherwise occupied, I was so excited to jump back into this tradition, though delayed a couple months from Father’s Day due to virus precautions. This time I was so glad to bring along my husband Brad and our two kids: Molly (one year old) and Nolan (3 years old).
With this being an hour and a half drive from our home, and our kids not napping well in the car, we once again took advantage of our trailer as our nursery on wheels and brought it along for the weekend, allowing us to extend our stay without overextending our kids.
The hike was planned for the first Saturday in August and I was so looking forward to it. As soon as the kids were up and ready, we jumped in the car and headed west toward my sister’s house. Upon arrival we immediately parked the trailer and then drove through the neighborhood towards the trailhead. It had been so long since I’d been back there, I didn’t even recognize the trailhead. With all the changes and development in the neighborhood things looked so different. But one look at the trail and memories quickly flooded back. Thankfully, some things stay the same. We met up with my parents, sisters, brother-in-laws and nephews and headed for the trail.
Molly took a ride in the hiking backpack, as did my nephew Calvin, while Nolan and my nephew Titus walked with us. This “hike” was really under three-quarters of a mile long, so it wouldn’t have taken too long to go up, but with two tiny hikers we had a more casual pace up the mountain. This gave us time to enjoy the scenery, visit and hear stories my dad shared about his time growing up on the lake and his own childhood memories of this trail- one of my favorite things about this tradition.
Being a Saturday we did pass a number of other hikers…and their dogs (Molly’s favorite sight), but it wasn’t too busy, which was nice so we didn’t feel like our group got separated along the way. As we neared the top, I remembered this felt like such a big mountain as a child, but now it felt generous to even call this a hike rather than a walk. Nolan on the other hand, who loves to be carried or in a jogger for most of his travels, while enjoying his time, felt like this took some work. Thankfully, songs helped pass the miles…I mean steps… as well as the promise of snacks when we reached the top.
At the summit we all took time for a family picture, trail mix and other snacks, and sight-seeing off in the distance where the area of Lake Desire was more in view. After reminiscing and giving the kids a breather- and a stretch break for the littles in hiking backpacks, we headed down the trail. As we neared the trailhead we gathered a few blackberries before we went back to our cars and made our way back to my sister’s house.
At the house we enjoyed a potluck (thankful to our RV fridge for keeping our things cold and safely transported) and bbq lunch before putting the kids down for nap. With four kids needing nap locations we took advantage of the extra space our trailer offered and put Nolan and Molly to bed in their bunk beds while Titus and Calvin found rooms to sleep in for the day in the house.
With all the kids down for nap we enjoyed time as a group just getting visit time together as adults. We enjoyed sitting on my sister A.J. and her husband Matt’s new addition to their deck. And the weather could not have been more perfect.
We shared cool drinks and dessert, and then took turns going out in the canoe my dad brought along, taking off out of the boat launch just down the street. By this time Nolan was ready to get up from nap and was anxious to enjoy his first canoe ride. He’s well familiar with the paddleboat so I was a little concerned how he’d do in a tippy canoe, but he sat so still the whole time. He’s such a quiet observer especially when doing something new. He loved looking at the houses, docks and boats along the lake, and especially loved the lily pads!
When we were all done canoeing for the day, we used our potluck leftovers for a simple dinner and enjoyed some ladder ball in the yard before calling it a day. From there we took off in the truck and trailer and followed my sister Amy, brother-in-law Ruben and my nephews back to their house where we would spend the night and the following day together. Due to virus precautions we hadn’t been to their house in months and our kids were really missing cousin time and let’s be real, playing with each other’s toys.
Having our trailer to sleep in kept us from imposing even more, so they didn’t need to rearrange to make extra sleeping arrangements for us. With all the kids down for the night, we took advantage of some kid free time to relax on the couch and watch a movie all together. While I love my kids to the moon, as a parent I feel like I have all these high aspirations of what fun things I want to do or accomplish once the kids are down, but honestly most times my energy is depleted, so this was a nice break.
The next morning we enjoyed a great breakfast together of the best berry crepes ever (thanks Amy!). Then the kids had a blast getting casual play time together before doing some online Sunday school singing and activities as church attendance was still on hold due to the virus during this time. They loved hearing some of their favorite songs, listening to the bible story and getting to do some coloring pages together at the end. After online church they headed outside for some more play time.
In the meantime Brad took advantage of our close proximity to Costco to get some bulk shopping done. I feel like every one of my articles includes a trip to Costco. Though we don’t go there constantly, we usually only go when we have the trailer because the conditions are perfect: traveling close to the store (not 3 hours round trip from our home), traveling with our own fridge and freezer in the trailer, and TONS of storage room.
Once Brad returned, we all had lunch together before nap time began. Then while the kids were sleeping, we spent time visiting and making up for the lost time until the kids were up and it was time to head home. We said our goodbyes and headed back East until next time.
Over the weekend we filled up on great food and made great memories- and we were thankful our trailer made this trip so much easier. The next time you have a day trip planned, consider turning it in to an overnight or weekend with your trailer and open up some more possibilities for your travels. You’ll appreciate the extra memories made. Happy memory making to you and yours!
About the Author: Emily Helgeson lives with her husband and two children in Eastern Washington. They enjoy adventuring together and are learning how to use their RV to continue this lifestyle with their growing family. Email: EmilyH@northwestrving.com