After carefully making our way around tide pools, picking lines over beach ball sized boulders, and slogging across loose, gravelly beaches, it was a relief to round the final rocky headland. By this time, we were looking forward to settling into a campsite for the next couple days. Located on the shores of a driftwood-strewn beach, our campsite would be perched above the tideline on a small ledge, overlooking the breaking waves, with prime beach-fire opportunities nearby.
Over the last several hours, we had worked our way 3.5 miles up the Washington coastline north of Rialto Beach, following the Pacific NW Trail, passing through the famous Hole In the Wall headland. A sheer cliff with a bypass hole carved by waves over centuries and only accessible at low tide, Hole in the Wall is one of the many natural wonders along the Washington coast. Eventually we found ourselves near the Chilean Memorial, on a secluded stretch of pristine beach backed by a steep wooded slope and bordered by protruding headlands.
Having never ventured so far north on this stretch of rugged Northwest shoreline, we were fortunate to find such a perfect site. Looking forward to spending some time enjoying this unique area, we rushed to set up camp as quickly as possible. We had only set our new-ish tent up a handful of times, so we were thankful for sunny skies as we tried to orient the rainfly to the tent’s doors.
It always takes a few days to get acclimated to sleeping in a tent and on a pad, but this time we were eager to test out the new NeoAir Trekker SV mattresses. To have 2.5 inches of air-cushioned loft that packs up to the size of a water bottle and inflates in only a handful of breaths is game-changing. And not only did we get great sleep, we had more time to explore, more time to relax and more time to recharge—really the reasons you venture into the backcountry in the first place. Here are a few ways you can spend more time exploring on your next adventure:
Spy on Wildlife
Between bald eagles, crabs, and the rare sea otter sighting, there’s a lot to see if you just take the time to look. Pro tip: investing in a cheap pair of binoculars is much easier than squinting to see if that seal is actually just a floating clump of kelp.
Soak Up the #vibes
Sometimes the best thing to do is absolutely nothing. Lay out a Honcho Poncho and watch the tide roll in, take a nap in the sun, or play a rousing game of Phase 10. There is something peaceful about listening to the crashing waves that can substitute for any other entertainment.
Hunt for Treasures
Always changing, the wilderness is one of the most interesting places to stock up on treasures. Whether it’s a heart-shaped rock, driftwood wizard stick, or a small, curated collection of beach glass, there is lots to discover while camping.
Cook a Gourmet Dinner
One of the best parts of camping is eating. Reward your efforts by bringing a little comfort to the great outdoors and chef up something real tasty. The most experienced campers look for meals involving as few dishes as possible, yet they can still create something satisfying and delicious.
Enjoy the Sunset
An epic sunset can put on a better show than any television program, sports match or J-Biebs concert. And somehow, each one seems to outdo the last. It’s always easier to have camp already dialed before gazing at the sunset for too long, because before you know it, it will be dark.
Next time you go into the backcountry, take some time to explore more, relax and recharge. Spend less time doing camp chores and more time doing what you really want to be doing outdoors.