Lake Merwin Camper’s Hideaway (LMCH)—a private campground one hour northeast of Portland, Oregon, is one of the most unique and beloved campgrounds in the Pacific Northwest. I’m biased with this opinion, however, because it’s also where I own a vacation home. Sometimes, Lake Merwin feels as close to “home” as I’ve ever felt.
You see, I’ve been coming to this members only hideaway since I was little girl. In fact, many of my relatives and friends have places here too—within walking distance of each other. How neat is that?
During the summer months, friends and family meet up at our trailers and modest cabins, which are tucked away in the forest, alongside, and overlooking Lake Merwin.
We hold parties on our decks, go boating, play pickle ball, take walks around the 1,500-plus member campground, swim at the clubhouse pool, and meet for breakfast or lunch at the camp kitchen, or just sit and relax under the trees.
You’ll see deer meandering by, as they are plentiful here. Some of our sites have lake views, others have distant views of Mount Saint Helens, and all of them are just a very short drive to beautiful Lake Merwin, where there is a sandy beach and private boat launch.
On Saturdays, members of the hideaway often take their boats out on the lake. My husband Mike, my sister Kim, and I, hitch a ride with a family member or friend, since we don’t have boats…yet. 😉
As we cruise along the lake, with the motor humming, the wind in our hair, and the white waves crashing under the boat’s bow, we speed past a plethora of the greenest, densest, most striking trees you will ever see. The warm sun beats down on our smiling faces, while we munch on chips and sandwiches, and drink ice-cold bottles of beer and diet cokes out of the coolers we packed that morning.
Hours later, and back at the hideaway again, dusk begins settling in. We change into our sweatshirts and long jeans, as the evening turns chilly. We start campfires and gather around in big circles in our lounge chairs, as storytelling and hearty laughter ensues.
We eat delicious food and share specialty cocktails, wine and beer. The fun nights go on like this, sometimes into the wee hours.
Eventually, we all grab our flashlights and find our way home in the pitch dark to our respective trailers and cabins for a cozy and contented night of rest.
You can find us—this group called block six—under the starlit sky of Amboy, Washington, exchanging conversation, and making great memories each summer. In my humble opinion, life does not get better than days and nights like these.
I don’t know how many groups of friends or families can say that they’re able to meet together in the same forested campground weekend after weekend, year after year. If you’re able to, be grateful—as I truly am, for this comforting and heartening experience, called trailer camping in the woods with cherished loved ones.
To this day, it’s one of my favorite places in the world. I can’t wait to go back; summertime is just around the bend!
For those interested in learning more about this private, members owned campground, you can visit the Lake Merwin Camper’s Hideaway website here.
Block #6, Lake Merwin Camper’s Hideaway member