Memorial Day has come and gone and the camping season is under way, folks, and in a big way for sure.
Many members of the Chapman clan occupied spots in beautiful Camp Altaire on the Elwha River, and we didn't have to travel a great distance to enjoy what turned out to be a gorgeous weekend.
The mayor of Altaire pleaded, nay begged, Olympic National Park officials to throw recent policy out the window and open the campground three or four days before the holiday weekend to avoid what has become, in the past two years, a land rush like it was the Oklahoma Territory and settlers were eager to get their covered wagons going.
National park officials had the campground ready and opened Tuesday before the holiday weekend and that took care of the rush to get favorite spots. New this year are brand new picnic tables. The old ones are gone and the new ones, made of some heavy recycled concrete-like product, are brown, blending in with the surroundings.
Don't try moving one, however, as it took a portable crane to locate them in both Alaire and Elwha campgrounds.
At Altaire, the park people made the kitchen area day-use only, so there are two tables under cover for those just wanting to picnic. Two new, smaller areas were constructed to keep the camping spots at 31.
We had Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mostly to ourselves, but the camp began filling up Friday morning and by Friday evening, the full sign was out. Many campers came from the peninsula and from nearby areas.
Sons Nos. 1 and 3 were camping with their families, and there was lots of visiting going on. Daughter from Bremerton and grandson moved in with us Friday, and we were joined by grandson-in-law from Bremerton as well. He came all the way on his trusty motorcycle and arrived about 9 p.m. Friday, about half-frozen. The trusty fifth wheel was crammed full with the comforts of home, and we did not go hungry.
I had to travel back and forth to air the halibut derby but had the Monday holiday all day, and it was fun. The camp emptied quickly Monday morning and it was quite peaceful with the mighty river running by, the birds chirping and the campfire smoke in the eyes.
The North Olympic Peninsula Marathon unfolds Sunday, and organizers say it is bigger then ever even though the Hood Canal bridge isn't scheduled to be open.
Olympic Medical Center's 5K and 10K runs and walk will start from the Port Angeles City Pier and go east to the turnaround at the same time the big, long run starts in Sequim and goes west.
The nearly 600 marathon volunteers are ready to go. The series of aid stations make this a fun event and competition for the best aid station is fierce, folks. The runners and walkers really appreciate the effort and every finisher likes having a personal escort at the finish line to take care of his or her needs. You don't get that kind of treatment at all marathons.
Remember there is no race-day registration for the 5 and 10K or the marathon, half-marathon, walk or high school relay. Register online for all events at www.nodm.com.
Congrats to all prepsters who made it to state in fast pitch, tennis, soccer and track. Seems funny to realize the next two weeks will be without any prep sports activity, but all those returning can get rejuvenated in the fall.
To all the prep coaches - from football to cross country, from basketball to baseball - thanks for all you do to help nurture the athletes you have under your wing.
One more kudo ... to Mike, your Gazette sports editor. He is everywhere with his heavy camera bag and a slew of notebooks. Like most sports editors, he tries to attend as many events as he can and many of those events are on his own time because he is dedicated to the athletes not only of Sequim but of the Olympic Peninsula.
Next time you see Mike out and about, go shake his free hand and tell him how much you appreciate what he does for the young and old athletes on the Olympic Peninsula.
Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.