Maryhill State Park, WA

Maryhill State Park Site 49
The Beach House in Site 49

This past weekend we took a friend and her daughter, who had never been camping, to Maryhill State Park on the Columbia River.  We rarely camp on the eastern side of the state, but had a great time exploring the area and will return again.

We went Kayaking at Horsethief Lake in Columbia Hills State Park.  It was a bit windy, but the lake was perfect for people who had never been paddling in a canoe or kayak.  Petroglyphs can also be seen at this park.  We plan to go back and do the ranger tour.

Horsethief Lake

Karman loving kayaking!
Karman loved kayaking!  She got me sopping wet with her paddle, but had a blast and then beat her mom in a race to the shore!

After lunch we toured the Maryhill Museum of Art.  The museum had many wonderful exhibits that wouldn’t be expected in the middle of nowhere!  It’s very well worth the time to visit.  The international chess sets and the Marie, Queen of Romania exhibits were most fascinating.  I also enjoyed the history exhibit of the Columbia Gorge roads.

Later in the day we visited the Stonehenge replica overlooking the Columbia River.

 

Maryhilll State Park is very clean and well maintained.  The quiet, peaceful setting was greatly appreciated.  Considering that the park sits on the Columbia River between two highways and two train tracks, the noise level was quite low.  Watching the traffic roll by and the boats floating down the river are part of the ambience of the area.

Shao and Karman had a great time, and now want to try camping on their own!

Sutton Campground – Siuslaw National Forest, OR

Tucked safely into the campsite.
Tucked safely into the campsite.

Amber and I went to Sutton Campground near Florence, Oregon last weekend.  It was our first attempt at taking the fifth-wheel to a national forest campground, and it was well worth the 3 hour drive.  The campground roads and sites are tight, but we were able to get into our pull-through, site A13.  Sutton Campground is beautiful and well maintained.  Most of the sites are surrounded by foliage providing campers with a great sense of privacy.  While we were in a pull-through site and close to the road we couldn’t see other campsites beyond ours when we stepped outside our door.  As typical of NF campgrounds there is a lot of space between sites, so even though we were close to the road we didn’t feel like we were trailer on top of trailer.

We decided to take out the dutch ovens and try the new dutch oven table we found at Sportsman’s Warehouse on a discount night.  Then we got a further discount because it was the last one left and didn’t have a box.  Amber’s the dutch oven fire starter and loved her new toy.  The baking powder biscuits, sausage gravy, eggs, and maple sausages were yummy!

We’ve always camped on the coast, but usually stay at Honeyman when we’re near Florence.  This last weekend we wanted to stay at a NF park, go kayaking and explore other places in the area.  It ended up being too windy and cold for kayaking, but we found three lakes we want to try next time we visit.  Mercer Lake, Sutton Lake and Alder Lake were all close by.  Then Cleowox Lake is at Honeyman State Park just a few miles south of Florence.  We went out to North Jetty, but the wind was making the sand sting as it hit us, so we didn’t stay long.  Instead we found Harbor Vista Campground that appeared be a quiet place for camping.  It’s a small park that I believe is operated by Lane County.

While walking through the campground we found the Darlingtonia Walkway.

Before going home on Sunday we practiced backing the 5th wheel into some other sites.  I also took several pictures of the campground and some sites we might be able to use for our next visit.