out out out of the house!,  Slow Living,  the dogs,  travel

Dinky Creek Vacation 2020: Part 1


I’m going to write this camping trip post in sections because I’m trying not to spend A WHOLE day laboring at blogging. (Yes, I am guilty of that.) I do love blogging but if I want to write daily, I have to keep it short and sweetish. So let’s get started on this trip!

It was GREAT! Really great. Just what we needed. It was not without its challenges though. Traveling during a pandemic is nerve-wracking and every step of the way I worried we had made a mistake and should have stayed home. I kept hearing those social media voices from Italy, Just Stay Home. echoing in my head.  But we didn’t. We ventured forward to where we thought we were safe and I hope and pray that we were. It turns out we were in more danger at home (A family friend who we are in relative indirect contact with has been diagnosed. Eeeek!) but we didn’t know that.

First mistake: I over-packed. I thought making a list and checking it twice was the way to go but it turns out being extra prepared allowed me extra time to over-think everything. I packed enough food for a week. We were only gone for three days and one of those was driving and we lived off snacks from the gas station. What’s a road trip without junk food?!!


It was a really long drive. Five hours. I don’t mind long road trips but for some reason in my geographically-challenged brain, I thought it was only three hours. After hitting a bit of construction traffic and sweltering at a few rest stops while the dogs peed, the trip there seemed extra long and laborious. You could say we were pretty tired by the time we finally got to our destination.


That was mistake number two. When I booked our campsite last year it seemed like the sweetest little creekside spot. It wasn’t close to the restrooms or the other campsites, which is what I like. What I didn’t realize AT ALL was that campsite itself was 100 feet away from the car parking spot down a STEEP dusty trail. It was no joke. On the map for some reason I didn’t see the incline. The hundred feet was vertical and only appeared like 50. Or something like that. I’m not really good at topography, obviously.

You saw the three big plastic totes and an ice chest we had strapped to the back of our truck? And the black plastic bladder thing full of sleeping bags and suitcases on top of the truck? I packed for a zombie apocalypse. We could seriously survive forever in the woods with all the gear and food I packed. The problem is, I thought we’d be close to the truck and I’d keep most of our supplies in the truck, only taking out what I needed as I needed. I had no idea I’d have to trek up and down a hill every time I needed a pot, spoon or a bag of pancake mix.

All that gear had to be carried down that hill. Did I mention that Payam recently had neck surgery and isn’t allowed to carry anything over five pounds? Before you gasp in dismay, please know that I am one determined mother work horse and I was not going to let a little sweat and tears ruin this camping trip. I grit my teeth and got to work, skidding down the hill and carrying totes that were way too heavy for me. Hear me roar silently, I am Super Woman.

Meanwhile, Payam, who doesn’t like to let a woman outshine him when it comes to brute strength, was sputtering madly. “What?!!! What kind of stupid #@$%$ campsite is this?!!!” He was so upset and disappointed to find that we had hours more work before we could rest. Not being the connoisseur of camping that I am, he thought we majorly got ripped off. The next campsite down the road had their fire pit and campsite a mere steps from their car!!

I, however, realized the beauty of this spot. It was secluded. It was remote. It was surrounded by trees and we could hear the stream nearby. It was perfect. Not another camper in sight. Actually, I take that back, there was one other campsite in the low meadow we were in but they were a half a football field away.


It was the most beautiful spot I have ever camped on and I have camped a lot in my lifetime. My parents used to take us every summer and Toby and I used to camp a lot as well. Having the perfect remote but not too remote campsite is a unicorn in the wild. They are really hard to find. So if anyone is looking for that perfect spot, book spot number 50 at the Dinky Creek campsite.

That is of course if you don’t mind a little bit of a trek from your car to your campsite. When I made the reservation, I kept wondering why it said zero vehicles when there clearly was a parking spot plainly marked. Now I realize it was a “tent campsite” and the vehicle was not part of the campsite. Live and learn.

I think I could definitely do it again and pack three times lighter. We didn’t need half the food I packed and we took a lot of unnecessary gear. But we didn’t know. Now we do and YES, I have totally typed out a new and improved list with those unneeded items nixed. I’m extra like that. Feel free to email me for a pdf copy.


The kids definitely helped out. That was part of our deal, knowing Payam couldn’t do his usual share of the heavy lifting. The kids carried totes and bags and didn’t even complain. Bug actually assembled their tent with a bit of help from Joon. I am so proud of my her. She might end up being the nature girl she genetically meant to be after all.


When we first got there we didn’t know how the dogs would behave so we leashed them to a big tree. Whiskey took up permanent guard dog status and Cody whined the whole time. He’s gotten to be so attached to me, he suffers if he can’t follow me around everywhere. I do love his dear little co-dependent soul but his whining was obnoxious.


Here’s a better view of both of our tents. Our tent is huge. The girls have their own three-person tent that is much smaller. We keep the dogs in our tent with us which is really nice. It has a divider down the middle that can be opened so the dogs have their space and be close to us while we are little separate from their dirt. Dogs + Camping = A lot of dirt.

We quickly set up camp and settled in just in time to watch the sun set through our own private little forest of trees.


It was perfect. Tomorrow: watercolors, streams and camp-cooking, oh my!



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