Kids Bike Review: Prevelo

Our daughter rode a strider bike at one year old and a two wheeled bike before age two. On son was a bit older but only because of our own ignorance. We didn’t know that two or three year old kids can ride two wheeled bikes. Well, they can! It helps if you have the right kids bike.

Islabikes is our first love in kids specific bikes. I was lost when they discontinued their store in the United States but things tend to work out and it led me to an even greater kids bike love.

Prevelo Kids Bikes!

Prevelo

Here are my top 5 reasons that both you and your kids will love Prevelo bikes.

1. Prevelo Customer Service.

My son had barely outgrown his bike when my daughter was more than ready for a bigger bike. We went to every bike shop within a fifty mile radius. We read bike reviews, articles, and blogs. My son test rode every bike we could find.

His reach was just a bit too short for any of the bikes, including some of the kids specific brands. I had nearly lost hope when I found Prevelo online.

Jacob answered on the second or third ring when I called.

He is the owner, designer, and mastermind of the company. He was happy to provide custom measurements, answer questions, provide encouragement, and fill me in on company policies and perks. These include the following.

  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • $15 Shipping, refundable in the US

I was pretty much sold when Jacob answered the phone as if he was an old friend.

They don’t mess around with shipping!

2. Kids Bike Design

Once you see your kids on a bike designed just for them, you will be convinced. The difference between a bike that is small and a bike that is for kids is unbelievable!

Jacob could tell you all about it but here are some of the basics.

  • Low Geometry!
    • Riders are low to the ground
    • Low seat heights, low peddle brackets, and increased rider and parent confidence!
  • Short crank arms and narrow Q angle.
    • You may want to look these items up but, trust me, this is a good thing!
  • Robust designs
    • Improved kid specific durability
HB’s first two wheeled bike. A 14 inch Islabike.
HB learning to work on bikes. He asked for all of the accessories on his Islabike.
Grace learning bike maintenance.

3. Social and Environmental Responsibility

Check out Prevelo’s advocacy and giving page for a full list of organizations that they support. The list includes People for Bikes and 1% for the Planet.

For places like this!

4. Trade Up Club: Kids Bike

Its exactly what you think. Send back your bike when it is too small and put 40% of your original purchase price towards a new bike.

As the mother of a 7 year old and a 5 year old, the previous owner of 4 kids specific bikes, and the current owner of 2 kids bikes, I am especially interested in this program!

Out to lunch a few years ago. Kids bike.

Highlights of 5 Years of Family Bike Riding:

  1. Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Michigan

2. Luton Park, Michigan

Prevelo Kids Bike

3. Commuting around town on kids bikes!

This is actually at Sleeping Bear but our local commute has a similar trail. Grace rode her bike to her first day of preschool and I didn’t even get a picture.

4. May Flower Gulch, Colorado

Kids bike.

5. McDonald Dunn Forest, Oregon

5. Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada

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10 Things To Pack For Hiking The PCT.

Are you considering a multi-day backpacking trip or a long thru hike, such as the Pacific Crest Trail? Do you wonder which things to pack for thru hiking the PCT?

You can benefit from our experiences thru hiking the PCT, the Vermont Long Trail, and the West Coast Trail. Here are a list of 10 things that we pack and love!

Hiking the PCT

Please note that this post includes affiliate marketing links. This means that we may benefit from a small amount of any purchase. This would be at no additional cost to you. We only endorse products that we use and love!

For Meals and Food:

  1. Ursack Allmitey Bear Bag. This works for rodents, as well as bears. CD used this for his thru hike in 2004 and we still use it today. You may consider sleeping with it under your pillow depending on how significant the rodent problem. It is durable, effective, and convenient. It is a must – have!

2. Titanium Spork. In the world of sporks, we vote for titanium. After breaking a couple of plastic sporks each, we decided to endorse something more durable. These have lasted us 5+ years and I anticipate that they will last at least another 5.

3. GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug. CD did not have this on the trail as he was given it last year. He tells me that he would have taken it if he knew it existed. Apparently, he may consider taking it in place of water bottle. That is saying a lot since he was never far from his Nalgene when we first met.

4. MSR Dromlite Water Bag: 6 L. Methods for carrying water on the trail are a matter of personal preference and comfort . This is CD’s choice. More than 16 years later, it still has not gotten a leak.

5. Evernew Titanium Pot, 1.3 L. It is years later and this pot is still good as new. It is just the right size to feed one or two thru hikers or three or four car campers.

To Stay Warm and Dry:

1. Gators. There are different lengths, colors, and styles for different purposes. Wet grass, snow, mud, rain, and bugs are a few examples. Ours get a lot of use!

2. Camp socks. Spare socks for your sleeping bag are a must! You will thank us later! I currently love “Darn Tough” socks but any socks will work. CD carries three pair of socks. Two for hiking and one only for camp. He continues to stand the principle of camps socks. Whether we are home, in the Sprinter, backpacking, or car camping, we wouldn’t consider getting near our sleeping bags with anything other than our camp socks!

3. Marmot Driclime. This is my favorite layer of all time! CD thru hiked with in 2004 and still wears today. It works for any temperature, packs small, weighs little, and stands up to the challenge. He gave me a Marmot Driclime for my birthday the first year that we met and I was quickly convinced.

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For Health and Safety:

1. Mosquito Head Net. When you need this, you will be glad it is packed. It is small, versatile, light, and effective. We recommend wearing it over a sun hat with a brim all the way around. This will keep the net from sticking to your skin or being irritating.

For more tips on handling mosquitos while on the PCT, check out this post: https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/05/07/pct-packing-list-throwback-travel-journal/

2. Black Diamond Head Lamp. CD uses this every day on the trail and at home. It is a way of life I guess.

For a look inside CD’s pack from Northern California onward, please check out the following post. https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/05/07/pct-packing-list-throwback-travel-journal/

If you are seeking a different perspective, you can check out the “what I didn’t need” gear list from REI. You may notice some healthy differences of opinion that are worth checking out!

https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/pacific-crest-trail-packing-brought-didnt-need?cm_mmc=sm_pin-_-always_on-_-brought_didnt_need-_-blog

I hope your thru hike gives you everything you need.

Enjoy and Hike Your Own Hike!

6 Reasons to Consider a Floor-less Tarp Tent.

  1. If your floor gets dirty or damaged, you just get a new one.

2. It doesn’t weigh much. It is quick and simple.

3. It is easy to dry.

Just hang one edge and let it dry while not worrying about the sides sticking together or it getting bunched up.

4. You sleep with less mosquitoes.

When camping in mosquito dense areas, follow this procedure:

  • Lay down your floor cloth
  • Arrange your pack and other belongings on the floor cloth
  • Lay your tent on top of your things
  • Pull up your tent
  • Climb in quickly
  • Enjoy listening to other backpackers zip and unzip their tents while swatting mosquitoes and swearing

5. When the stars are nice but you think it may rain, you can have it on standby and put it up without rearranging your things.

See mosquito control tent procedure above and follow steps three through five.

6. Rodents can go both out and in. – yes, this is a benefit, please see below.

After a few episodes of rodents running in but not finding a way out, CD learned to prop up the edge with a shoe in order for them to quickly get back out. If you are wondering why this would be a benefit, hikers with traditional tents also had problems with rodents. The difference was that in the case of a traditional tent, the rodents chewed their way in but there wasn’t an easy solution to getting back out.

#PCT
#PCT
#PCT. Drying his sleeping bag while hiking

If you are interested in keeping your food safe from rodents, here is CD’s preferred item. Have fun!

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Are you looking for gift ideas for friends in Oregon? Here is an idea.

It rains in the Willamette Valley. It rains most days in the winter. It is not the same as rain in the mid-west. The weather is benign and devoid of sharp edges. The rain comes in slowly and continues. Eventually, it leaves slowly.

In four years, I have yet to see a storm roll in and out of the Willamette. Sometimes it rains harder and then lighter. I hear people talk about storm clouds but when I look at the sky, I don’t see them.

The number one piece of equipment that I love during winter in Western Oregon is not really a piece of equipment at all. It is more of an accessory.

It was packed away in our things for the first year we were here. When CD found it and brought it out, it was as if everything was going to be okay again. At least everything would be less wet again.

It is a luxury but I use it nearly every day between November and June.

The DryGuy Boot Dryer.

Seriously, this was a game changer! I received this as a gift when we lived in the Colorado high country. I never expected it to change my life! Try it. You won’t regret it!

I haven’t used it in the Sprinter but am putting this on our to-do list for sure!

Best Gift Idea for Friends in the Pacific Northwest.

It rains in the Pacific Northwest and it definitely rains in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. I am from the mid-west but this is not the same as rain in the mid-west. The weather here is devoid of sharp edges; rain comes in slowly and stays. What gift ideas do you have for friends or family that live in the Pacific Northwest?

The number one piece of equipment on which I depend during winter, spring, and fall in western Oregon is not really a piece of equipment at all. It is more of an accessory.

It was packed away in our things for the first year we were here. When CD found it and brought it out, it was as if everything was going to be okay again. At least everything would be less wet again.

It admit that it is a luxury but it is one that use gladly nearly everyday between November and June.

The DryGuy Boot Dryer

Seriously, this was a game changer! I received this as a gift when we lived in the Colorado high country. I never expected it to change my life! Try it. You won’t regret it!

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Please follow our blog for Oregon adventures!

Child Carrier For Hiking: Our Recommendation

We have tried nearly every backpack child carrier on the market. Each one has pros and cons but mostly cons. My shoulders and back ache. Each one is bulky, awkward, and inconvenient to wear when the kids want to walk.

Then, one day we saw the <a href="http:// “>Piggyback Rider standing child carrier. In that moment our kid’s carrier hiking problems were solved!

Standing Child Carrier

Check it out!

Pros:

1. Kids like the Piggyback Rider Standing Child Carrier!

They feel engaged. We can talk to each other easily. They can see things, answer questions, ask questions, and feel more like a kid than a baby.

2. The Piggyback Rider Child Carrier is relaxing.

All of us can relax! My back and neck feel great. When they are young, there is a safety strap that prevents falling and when they are older, then can just hold onto the straps.

3. It packs small.

The Piggyback Rider stores either on a peg board in our garage or in our car. The size is minimal. It is light to carry and even the kids will carry it when we are not using it.

Piggyback Rider

4. The Piggyback Rider Child Carrier is easy to use.

Take it out of the carrying case and put it on. It is that simple. The safety strap is also easy to attach. Our kids hop on and off often in a single hike; the transition is quick and painless. Nobody cries.

Cons:

1. Price.

While just over $100, the price is in line with other similar hiking products.

2. The Piggyback Rider packs small.

It packs small enough that we have occasionally forgotten where we put it. This is really the our fault more than that of the carrier. I assure you that this never happens with a backpack carrier.

3. I sometimes get mud from shoes on my jacket.

This happens with every carrier and it is just part of going outside with kids I guess!

4. It doesn’t have the storage of backpack kids carriers.

I will gladly pack light, carry a shoulder bag, or do just about anything to avoid carrying a heavy backpack carrier, so this doesn’t bother me!

The Piggyback Rider Standing Child Carrier saved our hike many times. I envy their view from up there!

don’t forget your child carrier!

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that we may get a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommend. Clicking these links will not cost you extra money but will help us grow our website. Thank you for your support!

What is our favorite kid’s carrier for hiking?

Thankfully, we no longer need a full inventory of kids carriers. Due to having generous and adventurous friends, we have tried nearly every backpack kid carrier on the market.

It was too long ago for me to confidently compare and contrast each. I will say, however, that I never found one to love. I could take or leave any of them.

Three or four years ago we were out for a hike with the kids and came across a family with a standing child carrier. The parents looked so happy.

CD was inspired to build one. A few weeks later I got impatient and bought one. The kids are a bit big for it now and we have barely used it during the past year. For whatever reason, Grace asked to use it yesterday. So we did. It was great!

Check it out!

The Piggyback Rider Scout Carrier. The kids can see. My neck and back felt great! As long as the kiddo is awake, this is by far my favorite! Click on the pic above to find out more about the product.

Sprinter DIY
Sprinter DIY

Family Ski Vacation: Whoopin’ it up at Big White.

“Today’s Parent” rated Big White the number 1 ski resort for families in Canada. Do I agree? Yes, Yes, YES

I have skied at over 30 resorts in North America. Most of these were before I was a mom. I was more informed about Apres-ski conditions than kid’s activities and green runs. Times have changed!

Big White offered a long list of activities for kids. This included arts and crafts at Happy Valley, a Saturday night carnival, Santa’s workshop, ornament painting, pictures with Loose Moose, tubing, ice climbing, horse drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, a scavenger hunt, snow shoeing, fireworks, a glow stick parade, and a free gondola.

Not a great picture but this was the scene at the carnival: complete with cotton candy, games, prizes
Saturday night fireworks.

Are these activities the reason I think Big White may actually be the best family resort? Not really, although it doesn’t hurt.

Between skiing, sitting in the hot tub, going in the plunge pool, and building a luge track next to the condo, we didn’t even get to half of the activities above.

What was so great about Big White?

  • The base area was just right. There were enough but not too many services. The main base area included a hand full of restaurants, the lodge and coffee shop, a candy store, a ski shop, a market and liquor store, a gondola to Happy Valley, and a ski run down to three chair lifts.
  • Green runs were everywhere. We did our obligatory run on the magic carpet and then headed up to the Plaza Chair. The Plaza Chair provided access to a hand full of green runs and some kid friendly trees. Hummingbird to Woodcutter was our main route to the Plaza Chair. Two other chairs provided access to other green runs. We quickly realized that we could save the base area traverse to our condo by skiing a green cruiser from the Ridge Rocket Express. The other option was a cat-walk to Happy Valley and Lara’s gondola back up. This got us 50% closer to our condo door. Either way, the walk from the Plaza Chair to our ski lockers was less than 100 yards.
  • There was tons of un-tracked powder. In-bounds was less crowded than out-of-bounds at many resorts I have skied. CD and I were with only a handful of people on the T-Bar. We were alone on the way down. After a bit, one other skier came by and asked us if he was going the right way to catch the Powder Chair. We didn’t really know and we didn’t see him again. Big White has more acreage and fifty percent less skiers than the resort where CD and I met. This was obvious as I was making fresh tracks after just being told “last chair”. Even CD let out a “whoo-hoo” now and then!. Skiing at Big White was super fun!
  • Our accommodations were perfect! Stone Bridge, building 2, was a lucky find. While pretty much all of the condos advertise ski-in, ski-out access, ours had ski-in, ski-out access for kids under 10. That is hard to find. We also had a hot tub on our deck, a plunge pool nearby, ski lockers, and a big snowy hill just off our patio! The nearest run was approximately 10 yards downhill and delivered us right to the Bullet Express. The main base area and Plaza Chair green runs were less than 100 yards away and by the third day, the kids could nearly get there on their own.
Main lodge.
The hill by our patio. It later developed in to a luge track. The kids did it more like the skeleton than the luge, however.
Outside our condo. Every time I went out after dinner, there were moms and dads and kids playing on these hill slides or in the snow by the lodge. Everyone was loving it!
  • Christmas Eve was magical! Evening activities included a photo booth, live music, books with Santa, reindeer food, a visit by the Grinch, a glow stick parade, and an impressive fireworks display.
Christmas Eve fireworks. Our condo is to the left and we are at the main lodge looking up the run.
  • The scenery was beautiful. It was sunny at the bottom and occasionally towards the top.

How long would I recommend staying at Big White? At least a month, or two weeks, or as long as you can. I am not sure how long we would have needed to stay in order to find time for ice climbing or Nordic skiing, or ice skating but I want to go back and do it all!

What other tips may be helpful?

  • Costco and IGA are both on the route out of town from Kelowna to Big White. I recommend stocking up at both but also checking out the Big White market for fun.
  • If you happen to forget your boots, the rental shop staff are super nice. I went there after dinner and was the only one there. I took advantage of having rentals and tried three different pairs on the last day. The staff was nearly as interested to hear what I thought about each one as I was to ski them. I paid $11 more to have get access to better quality skis and I think it was worth it.
  • Saturday night fireworks may not be easy to see. If you happen to stay at Stone Bridge, take a hard left after the BullWheel. You will have a perfect view!
  • Skip the chicken parm poutine at the Happy Valley Lodge. What was I thinking?
  • Check out the BullWheel.
  • Head to the candy shop on the lower level of the main lodge for all of your bulk candy needs.
  • Bring the big bottle of Bailey’s.
  • The market carries Egg Nog, just in case.
  • Duck into the trees on the way to Plaza Chair. The kids will find it hilarious.
  • Bring a sled.
  • Ride the T-bar.
  • Drop off your live Christmas Tree at the transfer station on your way out of town. Don’t worry if yours is the first tree there. They assured me that there will be a pile of trees there by the end of the week.

En route to Big White …

We made it from Vernon to Kelowna and are now basically waiting to check into the condo at Big White.

It snowed last night. Huge awesome snow flakes. CD picked me up from my meeting at the Tree Brewery. The drive back to the hotel was reminiscent of drives in Summit County. I was disappointed to wake up to rain.

CD’s parents arrived last night and Grace had them in the pool by ten. Two hours later they were just getting dried off. I think I made a snack plate for lunch but honestly can’t remember if I fed them lunch or not.

The last few weeks have been busy. I wasn’t ready for Christmas at all. At home, I pulled out our boxes of Christmas tree ornaments, looked at them, and packed them directly in the car.

So, here we are in Kelowna with all our of Christmas decorations packed under ski boots, jackets, and hats.

Well, I am pretty sure everyone was skeptical of my plan but today was the day to cut our Christmas tree. I called every place that popped up on my internet search. One answered the phone.

It was pouring rain but we put on our boots and drove 7 kilometers to the edge of town to K & J Pacific Peaches (and tree farm, I guess). They looked surprised when we pulled in but quickly welcomed us with fresh hot cocoa. We were told that trees to the left were $30 and trees to the right were $40. They all looked the same to me.

These trees were different than any I have seen. As we walked around we came up with tons of theories as to why the trees were so unusual.

This is how pretty much every tree looked: A perfect Christmas tree shape on the bottom, a long bare spot and then another little mini Christmas tree shaped spot.

In any case, we chose a six foot tree with all of the characteristics specific to this tree farm. I gave them the $30 and they gave me twine and two bags of apples. Apparently each tree comes with one free bag of apples but since we were the only people there that day, they just gave us two bags.

It was still pouring rain. We dropped the kids off and changed to dry jackets. We still had to do most of our Christmas shopping. CD, the tree, and I went all over town. I realized later that it may have been funny to take a picture of each place we went with the tree on our car. The list included two sporting goods stores, a martial arts school, Walmart, Toys R Us, two bike stores, the mall, and a fancy restaurant for dinner.

Later the same day: CD and the tree pulling up to the sidewalk to get me. #vanlife

Tomorrow, CD, his parents, the kids, the tree, and I will go to Safeway, Costco, and then finally to Big White. I hope to have the tree up, a fire on, and an Irish coffee in hand by dinner time. We will see how it goes!

Suttle Lake, Oregon. Camping Review. Sprinter DIY

We live in the Willamette Valley. The coastal range is to the East and the Cascades to the West. It rains; it is wet. Lichen and fungi are prolific.

CD and I met in the high mountains of Colorado. The high desert is a comfortable climate for us. With that being said, we both enjoy the Willamette Valley. It is not typically until I leave the valley that I realize how much more comfortable I am with brown pine needles than with banana slugs and trees chocked by lichen.

It was CD’s birthday weekend. We had been home from our summer trip for less than a month. Our Oregon to Oregon odometer reading for the summer was 8528 miles and our trip timer reading was 190 hours and 55 minutes. Even with just having returned home, we missed the Sprinter life. The kids and I suggested an overnight camping trip for CD’s birthday. It needed to be a quick 1 night get-away.

We all agreed to drive East towards Sisters. CD had eyed up a few places and chose Suttle Lake mostly because we were short on time. It wasn’t as far as Sisters or Bend but was still on the dry side of the pass. There were several National Forest campgrounds and had easy access from the highway. Although he is not a fisherman, CD was kind enough to suggest that the kids and I bring our fishing poles and try our luck. We were sold.

If you have even driven Highway 20 from I-5 to Sisters, you may remember that there is a tipping point were the lichen stops and the high desert begins. I can’t tell you at exactly which mile marker this happens. This time, I didn’t think much of it until we pulled in to the campground. The ground and the air was dry.

The campgrounds were only a few miles from the highway. We drove through Blue Bay campground. It was nice but we kept going and settled on Link Creek. There were plenty of sites available. We chose a central site so that the kids could fish from the dock and we could see them from the van.
There was a dirt boat launch, fish cleaning stations, and pit toilets. The sites were plenty large and it was generally clean.

It was CD’s birthday so he was calling the shots. CD was happy to sit on the picnic table, strum his guitar, and enjoy the air. The view wasn’t anything spectacular.

Sprinter DIY. #vanlife
Sprinter DIY. #vanlife

I set up the kids fishing poles and started dinner. There were a few boats on the lake. From where we stood, it was shallow and not very inviting for swimming. It may be noted, however, that I was born and raised in Michigan and have high fresh water standards.

In any case, it wasn’t long before we heard a motor revving. Some sort of race boat with two exhaust pipes sticking up launched at the adjacent dock and was driving around the lake. This lake isn’t huge, by the way. The boat would speed around the lake two or three times, then idle for a bit. When it was driving it was so loud that we could barely talk to each other. I am sure other campers were irritated but I was more amazed, interested, and surprised. The whole thing went on for an hour or so and then they loaded the boat on the trailer and drove away.

The second most interesting thing we saw was a good sized cabin cruiser. It was anchored off shore a bit. Again, this is not a huge lake. I assumed they would sleep there but rather than doing so, they pulled into the dock at the campground and slept in a tent.

I guess people really love boating on this lake. Based on our lack of success fishing and the fishing equipment on their boat, it occurred to me that you may need a boat to get to the fish.

Several campers had kayaks pulled up on shore and easily accessed by walking paths from their campsites. This seemed like a nice idea to me.

By the time the kids and I got back, CD was fully immersed in his much anticipated awning experiment. Years ago he made an awning for our minivan. He had been wanting to try it out on the Sprinter. Rain was expected over night and I guess he decided this was his chance.

Here it is. Don’t trip over the guylines. Sprinter DIY. #vanlife
Sprinter DIY. #vanlife

Well, he did it. It was set up and surprisingly solid. I was curious about the sag in the middle but it sounded like he had a plan. The guylines were a bit of a hazard but I was willing to humor him and give the thing a try. It was his birthday after all.

He told me to walk around the van to see how he secured the awning. I really hadn’t thought much about it and wasn’t really that curious but, again, I humored him. This is what I found:

Sprinter DIY. #vanlife

He seemed to know it was ridiculous and not any sort of ground breaking invention. Since we couldn’t open the driver’s side door, it was barely even a short term solution but he was so happy.

HB woke up around dawn. We found a bridge that we had failed to see the night before. There were fish rising and jumping all over the place. We headed over the bridge and ended up on the dock for the larger boat launch. We tried every fishing trick I knew but they just didn’t bite. We watched the sun come up and saw trail runners. We walked some of the trail. It may be worth mentioning that you can see and hear highway 20 while standing on the shore. We didn’t notice this from our campsite.

Shortly after CD and Grace woke up, the skies opened up. The awning held. We ate oatmeal in the van and broke camp.

CD was curious about the Suttle Lake Lodge. It was near Highway 20 and not far off the road. We walked into the main lodge and were greeted by a crowded room of happy lodge guests. There was shelf after shelf of board games. The dining area was community style with big long tables next to sofas and coffee tables. Dogs were welcome and everyone was smiling. Big windows and glass doors offered a lake view. A large patio and lawn were beyond. There were docks with row boats and fishing boats for rent.

I am quite sure that CD didn’t intend to spend time or money here but it was just too tempting. I ordered fresh squeezed orange juice, grapefruit juice, and an egg sandwich with aged cheddar.

We already had breakfast at camp but the opportunity to drink fresh squeezed juice while playing board games by a hot fire with tons of happy people just seemed like the right thing to do. The kitchen was slow but for good reason. The place was packed and they were obviously making every order one by one. We didn’t mind the wait.

Would I camp at Suttle Lake again? Probably not.

What would I do differently if camped there again? I would walk, boat, or bike to breakfast at the Suttle Lake Lodge. I would spend time playing corn hole and drinking fresh juice. I may consider happy hour at the lodge too. I may consider just staying at the lodge if I need an easy to get to lodging location for a few people that like that kind of thing.