We gathered up the tent, stove, sleeping bags, bug spray, hot dogs, marshmallows, sunblock, more bug spray, chips, fishing poles, and everything else you need to go camping with two four-year-olds and a seven-year-old, and we headed north to Hazard Lake for a long camping weekend. This was our first camping trip of the year, which from what I have been hearing from other parents, is common due to the late spring we had this year in the Northwest.

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We knew we were in for quite a few “are we there yet” conversations due to the fact that it is a solid three hour trip from the Boise area, but with one movie in our arsenal and the comeback of “no, look out your window,” we headed out to go smell dirt. We drove north on Hwy 55 through McCall, taking a right on the road leading to Brundage but passed by the grassy ski hill to hit the dirt road for the length of one kid movie. We were actually asked to turn off the movie in favor of the view — I couldn’t have been more proud at that moment — they liked the view out their window better than the movie. Take it in, remember it, cherish it and smile.

We made it to Hazard Lake by dusk, with our friends waiting for us with a beer in hand and open arms ready to help us unload and unwind. The kids were ready to fish but knew they had to wait until morning and they figured out that Mom and Dad’s healthy eating habits were out the window for the weekend — hello hot dogs and marshmallows!

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Every morning, and at least ten times during the day, we hiked the fifteen yards down to the lake to see how many brook and rainbow trout could be caught. About fifty yards from camp, Clara caught the first brook trout with her trusty Barbie pole and all others were satisfied just hanging out casting and admiring the views. Amazingly, there were no complaints about not catching anything. Of course, we answered a lot of questions: When did the big forest fire happen? Why is the lake so cold? How many fish live in the lake? How did Smokey Bear survive the fire? How did the lake form? Can we live up here? All fantastic questions that we tried our best to answer with complete accuracy, a straight face, and happiness in our heart of sharing this moment with our children.

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Hazard Lake’s elevation of 7,050 feet above sea level makes for very cold water, so not an ideal lake for swimming, but who could turn down the chance to see the faces of shock when their ankles and knees touched water that not 24 hours before, was most likely snow. With the Milky Way glowing, sheep bleating in the hills, bats in full attack mode (on the mosquito’s) and tummies full of s’mores, the evenings were priceless all cuddled up by the fire.

Our great Northwest is an amazing place to raise a family. Whether you are into the city life, country life, camping life or all of the above, there are adventures and memories just around the corner. We are just beginning our family memories, are you?

Do you have a favorite Northwest family memory you want to share with us? Email us your story and photos here and we will consider publishing it for all to share.

  1. Evie Walther says:

    Wonderful weekend memories with your family. Wish I was 4 or 8 years old agian to experience all the UNKNOWNS of the great Northwest. Keep enjoying your adventures. Love your story.

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