Camping during COVID; three families travel, camp across the Northwest

SPOKANE, Wash. — The sunny weather has been the perfect recipe for a weekend outside. Sadly, some campsites across the state are closed or have limited capacity—but Riverside State Park isn’t one of them.

The park has been a hit this weekend. The parking lot by the trails, completely full. The campsite, same scenario. Families here enjoying each other’s company but with a few changes this year.

Three families from Bremerton have been traveling across the Northwest. They went to Montana and Wyoming. Now, they’re heading back home.

“So, we actually started a two-week vacation,” said Colin Maloney. “This is day 16.”

Like many other things in our lives right now, camping was different for them.

“Some campgrounds were not opening,” explained Maloney. “I mean, we had up until a week before we left; we weren’t sure if we were going to get into here.”

“Silverwood was different than last year,” said fellow camper David Gesell, “not as many people, but longer waits in a lot of the lines just because of all the sanitizing, COVID stuff they were doing.”

They even had to rearrange some plans due to cancellations or unexpected closures.

“We got lucky that someone must’ve canceled out of these two spots and these opened up and we snatched them up,” said Gesell.

Thanks to COVID-19, they’re treading lightly when they are outside.

“We’re more cautious on a lot of other stuff. We are constantly hand sanitizing and wearing face covers when there’s a bigger group or we’re not inside,” said Maloney.

“In our core group, we’ve always been together and exposed together, so you know, we consider ourselves one big family,” said Gesell.

A big family that isn’t bonded by blood—but by love.

“For me, it’s just to solidify our group, you know,” said Tony Lyons, a camper with the family. “We’re kind of new right? We’ve been doing this for two years as a group, but again, I think we all have each other’s backs.”

“To be able to spend quality time with people we really like and enjoy and seeing this great country,” said Maloney. “Once again, this country is awesome.”