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Camp Journal #12- Site 65, Ike Kinswa State Park~ Oct 2023

I heard of this park from a co-worker who had come frequently in his youth, and I was surprised I'd never heard of this campground. The only time I could get was very late in the season - two nights spanning September and October. I'd never tried fall camping, but I was game! Southern Washington, here I come!

Pictured: Ike Kinswa State Campground is along the shores of beautiful Mayfield Lake.

The first thing you notice enroute to Ike Kinswa is the rolling farmlands, which give way to a very large, lovely lake on your right as you approach across a bridge. I imagine it might be a mecca for power boaters in the summer, but today and for my stay, it was so lovely and quiet. The waves lap along the shore, and the water is so clear. I could SEE fish swimming along and surfacing, and I was cursing leaving my fishing gear at home.

But evening was coming on, so hard as it was, I had to pull myself away from the lake and get my camp set up. Because it was late in the season, the tent-camping side was closed. I didn't realize this when I made my reservation, but found my way to the typically-RV sites, characterized by pull-through parking loops and of course electricity being available. I was a bit disconcerted at first, as that can often mean a louder experience - generators, larger groups, etc, but it really was quite a nice site, and I had oodles of room AND a place to charge my cell phone (which is also my camera) so it turned out to be a great experience, and I wouldn't shy away from it again.

Pictured: Site #65 on arrival, lots of room on the pull-through park for my little Kia Soul!

I like the campground's habit of signifying the site is ready to go with an upright walking stick. I and multiple fellow campers that I met on the trail used them as trail walking sticks while there, leaving them lying across our picnic tables for the turnover folks to place upright again once the site was readied after our departure.

Pictured: My little world for the next two days, all set up and ready for a campfire to be lit!

I was hungry from the drive, the lake watching and the setting up, so got dinner started. Easy tonight - some chicken-sausage, pasta, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and a red pepper pesto with a little fresh basil to finish, add a green salad and dinner was served!

Just before I plated, I dashed up the road to catch the sunset. Ahhhhhh.... that's what solo camping is all about. Well, that and the reading by the fire. And listening to the night settle in around you as the embers spark and the wood crackles. All that, too.

Night was a BIT more eventful than I wanted... I love to sleep without a rain fly on, so I can see the trees in the morning and moonlight at night. The forecast waws a bit off, and the pitter patter of rain coming through the tent top woke me in the wee hours. Luckily I had stashed the rainfly close by (not always the case) and so I flung it on and tied it helter skelter - not at all how it is supposed to go, but in the dark and while rain was coming down, my interest was less in aesthetics and all in making sure the open net areas were covered. Back into my blanket bed I crept. Until the RV next to me decided to head out to fishing just before dawn. I've noticed that we all sort of think we are in our own little bubble, but sound-wise, we are very much still in proximity. I dozed a bit more until the coffeeeeeeee (and the restrooms) called.

Pictured: Last night's leftover sausage was joined by pancakes, a camping staple for me in all their many forms- this time pumpkin- and a fried egg and fruit. I love eating, drinking copious cups of coffee, and reading by the fire in the morning, just listening to the birds.

Pictured above and below: A walk along the lakeside trails, and a picnic by the river that feeds into the lake ~ STILL regretting not bringing my flyfishing gear!

Flora and fauna aside the trail, along with the crisping air at night and into the morning, reminded me that it was sunny, but fall was on the way. Pro tip: There are some fantastic camper cabins with their own bathrooms, many with just stunning views of the lake and fire pits, etc. Definitely on my list as an option into the fall, as they have heat.

After a nap (life goes at a lovely slow pace when I am camping, which is why a weekend away generally feels like a week) it was time to rustle up a little supper. This time, some breaded and panfried chicken, and I made rice and added in veggies on the other burner. Some fire gazing and the ubiquitous s'more made a perfect evening, along with another dusky sunset.

Pictured: Can you hear the crickets and the frogs, and the crackling of the fire?

The next morning, I lingered over a few cups of coffee, and simple cuppa oatmeal with raisins for packing-up day breakfast. I like to relax until the veeeeerrrrryyy last moment.

Pictured: Then it was all business packing up - and that means the Kia is STUFFED to the gills! Oh that's gonna be some unpacking when I'm home, too.

But for now, one more breath of fresh lake autumn air, and a farewell to a campground I will definitely revisit - I hope you will discover it, too!

"To-do lists are fine.... To-be lists are better." ~ Tim Guirl

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