We took a little break this weekend and went camping at Verlot in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. It’s less than an hour away, so an easy camping trip. I love not having a long drive to and from a vacation destination, and there are so many close-by places to explore, I doubt we’d ever run out.

Here are the collies, enjoying a little time with Kirk on the seating for people. We let them sit near the fire after a long swimming stint in the very cold river. Border collies have such a problematic trait of having zero awareness of their bodies while they are doing something intense or fun. So we really have to watch them when swimming, they can get hypothermic and woozy and still be asking for more fetching! It’s only when they get back to the campsite do they realize how cold and uncomfortable they’ve become from too much time in the water, and then they seek sympathy and warmth.

Here is our trailer setup: we make a little “yard” for the dogs out of exercise pens (“ex-pens”) made for dog shows. The underside of the trailer is blocked from crawling dogs by more ex-pen panels flipped on their sides, and they are all clipped together at the corners to make a continuous pen. Foam pipe wrap shoved on the edges of the pen panels protect the trailer sides from scratching. It allows the dogs to enjoy going in and out of the trailer, it keeps them from being annoying eating at the picnic table area, and it’s nice for letting them out during the night if they need to pee (which is not uncommon if they’ve drunk a lot of swimming water earlier in the evening!).

There are multiple campgrounds along the the Mountain Loop Highway outside of Granite Falls, Verlot is just one. Almost all of them have some riverfront campsites. This one bordered the South Fork of the Stillaguamish. The campgrounds all have our classic temperate rainforest characteristics, including rain, which drizzled off and on Saturday, and came down in earnest during the night. The trees are dripping with moss, and various varieties of it carpet the forest floor and fallen logs.

I think this is a bracket fungus, which are common here, but it’s unusual to see one grow in a full circle. Usually they grow like a shelf off the side of a fallen log. This one almost looked like coral.

Camping by a rushing river makes for such a soothing and relaxing time. Our campground was pretty quiet overall anyway, but I love how the sound of the water drowns out any sign of other people.