Dosewallips River Road

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Dosewallips River Road

May is not the easiest month to find a backpacking destination. But by the time it rolls around and spring has fully sprung, the itch to get out there is at a near lethal intensity. Additionally, there’s a Mother’s Day card to play if you’re a mom like me, which means being able to coerce at least one kid to come with you is a good bet. So with those motivations prompting me, I was determined to find something good. 

My daughter, Amber, agreed to come, and though she has been a great sport for several hikes – I know that hiking is not really her thing. But camping is! So I looked hard for a nice compromise.

Dosewallips River Road Trail could not have been a better fit. It used to be a drive up campground, until Mother Nature claimed it as her own. Now you have to hike in, either 2.7 miles to the first camp, or 6.5 miles to the bigger campground. (Which actually has an abandoned Ranger Station.)

With my daughter’s boyfriend in tow, the three of us set off to see how far we could get. There’s a part of me that always wants to see it all. I have the “fear of missing out on something” syndrome  – so I was campaigning to get to the end. The vote did not go my way. 



As soon as we made our way through the first apocalyptic campground (Elkhorn) and found the place nearly full, I was talked into calling it quits. Best to play it safe and grab a spot while we could. After setting up and still feeling not satisfied to stay put, I talked them into a little exploring.

Following the less defined trails into the woods while searching for ANYTHING dry we might possibly use as firewood, we came upon a very cool looking little cave. As I was trying to get down to it for a better look, Chuck warned, “That looks an awful lot like a bear den.” Exploring time suddenly came to an abrupt end. (Sorry, I didn’t even get a picture, we hightailed it out of there so fast.)

The bear lives just beyond these trees

In lieu of disturbing bears, we decided to raid the few remaining unclaimed campsites in hopes of finding something in the fire pits we could possibly use. Nothing but ashes. Knowing how badly we wanted to make a fire, and how impossible it would be with the sopping pile of branches that was as yet our only fuel, we made our way to the final unoccupied site with our fingers crossed. And there, like a bag of gold, lay a dry stack of beautifully dry store bought campfire wood leftovers. We had hit the jackpot.

Time to light this f*#%er up! Even with our fire starters, it wouldn’t have happened without our dry wood plunder

Having the rest of the day to sit and play cards, talk, work on the fire, play the ukulele, and generally just enjoy our time together, I realized something important. Life is not always about chasing what you might be missing out on, but enjoying what is right in front of you. Happy trails.  

Happily staying put
An no trip to the peninsula is complete without a stop at Fat Smitty’s



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