“Sure doesn’t look like there’s anything out here,” my driving companion commented as we drove through low bush farmland in Washington state on our way to the Gorge Amphitheatre. My buddy and I were making our first trek to the Gorge to see Dave Matthews Band after a weekend of surfing in Tofino, BC. (This sounds like I’m more of a hippie than I am.)

That trip was 9 years ago, and I’d been back to the Gorge just once in that time, to see Tom Petty with my husband. My husband has been more frequently, having trekked to the Gorge each Memorial Day long weekend with a bunch of hockey buddies for the Sasquatch Music festival for four years running. I’d always watched to do Sasquatch, but pregnancies and newborns got in the way (along with a hesitation to crash a guy’s weekend).

This year though, the stars aligned and our kids were old enough to stay with our in-laws in BC. A few other girls were going, so I joined up.

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Thanks for letting us girls crash guys!

I thought there wasn’t anyone who knows how to have fun better than a parent released from the chains of diapers and early morning risers, but it’s not true. That would be the 18-year-olds with unlimited access to alcohol and drugs and away from their parents for the first time. We avoided the worst of the extreme partying by splurging for premier camping and avoiding general camping (aka District 9). Things I’ll never forget about the weekend include:

  • Being photobombed by two girls dressed in large Fraggle costumes who snuck into our campsite when it was unattended and left Polaroid snapshots of themselves with our beer flag and using my hula hoops.
  • A guy in line for the honey buckets sniffing my head and telling me I was delicious smelling. I had just cooked three packages of maple bacon.
  • One of the guys barging into the tent trailer at an inopportune time (hello? I left my five-year-old in another country – didn’t think I had to be as paranoid about locking the trailer door).
  • Learning how to smuggle in vodka in unopened water bottles. (I’m not saying I actually did this – just that I learned how to.)
  • Meeting Michael Kiwanuka walking around and not having enough cash in my pocket to buy him a beer. But he looked pretty stoked to be randomly recognized.
  • Dancing my heart out to Steve Aoki for two hours. But then having the night end on a sour note when my bag was stolen literally off my shoulder. Luckily someone returned it, including my keys and phone, to Lost & Found. My Bench hoodie that was tied to it was long gone.
  • Tacos in a bag at midnight. Some of the group were still on the grounds and didn’t get any. Sorry guys.

If you haven’t been to the Gorge, you need to go. It’s always in the top five lists of best outdoor concert venues in North America. A gorgeous venue makes live music and smuggled vodka taste that much sweeter.

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Chillin’ on the hill.

2013-05-25 18.33.17Michael Kiwanuka and I. I didn’t buy him this beer. I wish I had.

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