Pirates weren’t part of the plan for this camping trip

Let’s be honest, sometimes car camping feels like tailgating. When minivans are parked into slots like sardines and the campfire next door blows smoke into your face, it’s annoying. Plus, I always worry about amoebas when I wash dishes at a spigot. But part of my dream is to show my children America, and tent camping is an affordable way to go.

My family has hit Washington’s national parks pretty hard in recent years, so this summer we decided to explore state parks instead. I’m ecstatic because this means coin-operated showers.

In late July, we stayed at Twin Harbors Beach State Park in the southwest corner of Washington. It boasts one of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen. We found sand dollars, jellyfish, mussels and massive amounts of purple sails, or velellas.

Most of the campground was crowded, but site 267 offered pine trees, spaciousness, clean water and a short walk to the beach. Unfortunately, all that roominess wasn’t enough to protect us from pirates.

Yup, you read that right: pirates.

The people in site 272 were in full pirate regalia. They started drinking at 9 in the morning and carousing around. In addition to their striped pants and eye patches, some of them wore pistols. I wasn’t sure whether these guns were stage props or the real deal. It would be dumb to drink heavily and arm yourself, but smart decisions seemed to be in short supply with these buccaneers. They also left their unattended campfire roaring away.

“Cody! You know better than that!” Captain Stupid yelled every time his three-legged dog started barking. “Can’t you hear me?”

Um … yeah, dude, the whole campground could hear you.

“Shut the fudge up, you dang dog!” the lady pirate would shout — only she used saltier language.

When I envisioned showing my kids America, this wasn’t what I had in mind. So we escaped to the beach as much as possible.

My husband and I kicked back while our son flew his kite and our daughter buried our feet in sand. We enjoyed gorgeous weather and stellar views — until some hotshot drove his mammoth truck right next to our beach towels.

The first time this happened, I was shocked. I’d never before been to a beach that allowed cars. Most of our fellow beachgoers were on foot. But there were plenty of people driving 4x4s, belching exhaust and crunching sand dollars to dust.

I don’t believe in infringing on other people’s rights. But I also believe in treating nature with respect. Just because you can drive on the beach doesn’t mean you should. It was sad to see one of the most beautiful places in Washington turn into a parking lot.

Pirates and plunderers? Walk the plank! Twin Harbors Beach is more beauty than you deserve.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

More in Life

‘Last Jedi’ is the best ‘Star Wars’ movie since the first one

This instant-classic popcorn movie makes clever references to the past while embracing the new.

Jesse Sykes brings her evolving sounds to Cafe Zippy in Everett

She and Phil Wandscher make a return trip to a club that she values for its intimacy.

Red wine usually costs more, but you can still find bargains

Here are five good-quality reds that won’t drain your grocery budget.

Beer of the Week: Skull Splitter and Blood of My Enemies

Aesir Meadery of Everett and Whiskey Ridge Brewing of Arlington collaborated to make two braggots.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Ugly Sweater Party and Canned Food Drive at Whitewall: Marysville’s Whitewall Brewing… Continue reading

Student winners to perform concertos with Mukilteo orchestra

This annual show is a partnership with the Snohomish County Music Teachers Association.

‘Ferdinand’ a modern take on the beloved children’s story

The lovable bull is back in an enjoyable but spotty animated film from the makers of “Ice Age.”

Playwright alleges misconduct by Hoffman when she was 16

A classmate of Dustin Hoffman’s daughter says the actor exposed himself in 1980.

Art mimicks reality in engrosing ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’

The Korean film tells the story of an actress recovering from an affair with a married director.

Most Read