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Published: Sunday, July 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

People-watching was part of the fun of camping

My family recently went car camping at Bedal Campground just off the Mountain Loop Highway. It's a beautiful place to go, but if you do, make sure to have a reservation and bring lots of water.

The weekend my family spent at Bedal, we were blessed with sunshine. My kids were impressed by all the wild berries and spent quality time throwing rocks into Sauk River.

For my part, I enjoyed sizing up my fellow campers. I didn't intend to snoop and wasn't trying to be judgmental. But gosh darn it! People kept walking past our campsite on their way to the pit toilet and I couldn't help but people-watch.

First there were the older European campers who arrived in a Cruise America RV. (Have you ever seen a Cruise America RV? The fake children peeking out the side door are really creepy.)

The European campers thought my husband was a forest ranger because he hadn't shaved in a few days. Later in the weekend I saw them eating dinner in their swimsuits. The grandfather types wore Speedos, and the grandmothers were in bikinis.

I don't know about you, but I normally don't wear a bikini to dinner, especially when being swarmed by mosquitoes. But maybe when I'm 80 years old I'll think differently.

I also saw a pretty 20-year-old girl show up at the Sauk River with a white skirt, a glass of Chardonnay and a banjo. Obviously she didn't have to worry about being used as a human napkin when it was time for s'mores.

She also had room in her car for acoustic instruments. Our SUV was packed so tight that our dog-eared copy of "Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades," by Joan Burton and Ira Spring, kept hitting me in the elbow.

Maybe if we were cool enough to own a vintage Westfalia, we'd have more room. Then we could have joined the Westfalia convention that was happening a few campsites down the road. I REALLY wanted to invite myself over, but I resisted. Now I'm left wondering what exactly those pop-ups can do.

Speaking of unanswered questions, why do some people who camp or hike with pit bulls not put their dogs on a leash? I've got a couple of scared kids who really want to know.

The last night of our campout, a young couple showed up in a little Hyundai with a two-person tent and a hibachi. They were up and out the next morning before my kids had even complained about their oatmeal.

As I watched the Hyundai couple drive away, I couldn't help but consider. Nine years ago, that couple was my husband and me. Now here we were surrounded by children and camping junk.

I also had to wonder, what exactly was that Hyundai couple thinking about us? No, wait! Maybe I don't want to know …

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at

Story tags » Camping

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