mojave calling

While Hashi put up the tent, K got the fire going

Our beautiful campsite

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

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Hedgehog cactus

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Banshee Canyon

It’s becoming an April tradition, the birthday camping trip. Last year we went to Los Padres National Forest. The year before to Death Valley. This time, we went to Mojave (Mo-hah-vee, for you Australians) National Preserve and camped at Hole-in-the-Wall.

Ah, desert. I love its muted tones and barren vistas and surprising splashes of colour. It whispers ancient secrets that I cannot quite understand, but that I want to slow down and strain to hear. Despite the dust, it leaves me feeling cleansed in some way. It is the opposite of frenetic and riotous, the opposite of Los Angeles. There is no hurrying to be done in the desert.

We had such a lovely time. Except for when the wind got fierce in the night, and our tent became a flapping flailing beast for hours on end, and The Guy resorted to sleeping in the car. THAT part wasn’t fun. But the rest, the hiking and exploring and cooking and staring at the fire. Yep, that was all perfect, and exactly right for a birthday trip. I’m a happy girl.

birthday camping trip

With my birthday approaching, I knew how I wanted to celebrate it: getting grubby around a campfire. So the Guy + dog & I headed for the hills inland from Santa Barbara, where we found ourselves a place by a creek in the Los Padres National Forest.

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Due to recent rain, the brook was babbling ….

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… and the wildflowers were out.

Hours were spent hiking …

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… and staring at flames.

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The weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.

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After two days, we took the high road home, scoping out possibilities for the next camping trip, which will require a 4WD. As I’ve been saying for, oh, six months now, I really do need to get myself one of them.

camping with the girl

Cooking breakfast #camping #bigbasinstatepark #adventureswithlauren #intothewild

It’s been nearly two years since L & I had a road trip. She’s been asking me to take her camping for a long time, so finally we went.

#redwoods #bigbasinstatepark #adventureswithlauren #intothewild

Big Basin Redwoods State Park, north of Santa Cruz, is spectacular in a wet, lush, massive kind of way, so different from the landscape in southern California. We stayed in a tent cabin, as a way of easing a first-time camper into the joys and discomforts of ‘roughing it’.

#bigbasinstatepark #stellersjay #intothewild #adventureswithlauren #365gratitude_hashimaree

It was cold, but not unbearable. L was a good sport about it.

#ferns #adventureswithlauren #intothewild #camping #bigbasinstatepark

#ferns #bigbasinstatepark #camping #intothewild #adventureswithlauren

And it was spectacularly beautiful.

#ferriswheel #santacruzboardwalk #adventureswithlauren #roadtrip

We spent time in Santa Cruz too, sampling the Boardwalk, and visiting with friends.

View from the top #ferriswheel #adventureswithlauren #santacruzboardwalk #roadtrip

It was fun to get away with L for a few days. She was 6 when I met her. She’s 16 now, and driving. Amazing. Am I really a decade older?

thenandnow

Yeah, I guess I am.

#redwoods #bigbasinstatepark #adventureswithlauren #intothewild

One thing is for sure: I’m not going to stop camping any time soon. Where to next?

stymied

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All the BLM campgrounds are closed this weekend. I am totally bummed. Curse, you, politicians.

ok so i’m a bit stubborn

The weather people said, “Heat wave coming. Like, possibly the highest temperatures ever recorded on earth. It’s going to be really hot.”

The Guy said, “Maybe we shouldn’t go camping this weekend. It’s going to be really hot.”

His mother said, “I’m really very worried about you going camping. Not just for your sakes. For Bodie’s too. It’s going to be really hot.”

Middle Lion campground

I said, “But … but … but … I really want to go camping! It’s been two months! If we don’t go this weekend, we won’t be able to go for another month or so!” I didn’t quite stamp my foot, but maybe I did pout a little.

Lion Creek

So we went. And it was, unsurprisingly, really really hot. 108F/42C. Way too hot for a long haired dog, let alone her humans.

Hot hot Bodie

We found a lovely little primitive campground, on the banks of Lion Creek. Unfortunately, 30 cub scouts and their leaders found it too. We could deal with them OK but then a dozen or more teenage party people rocked up … and rocked on, complete with vomitous sound effects till 3 AM.

Reminded me of Jabba the Hutt
Can you see Jabba the Hutt?

I used to be a teenager. I haven’t forgotten. But I’ve always had a huge reluctance to disturb neighbours with loud noises. My muffler would have been especially active in a remote campground where others have come to escape from it all, I would think.

Not so, these yahoos.

And did I mention it was really really hot?

Lion Creek

But yeah, pretty.

I’m not sorry I went. But maybe next time there’s a Heat Emergency Advisory, I’ll postpone.

Or maybe not. Because sometimes I just really need to go camping.

camping

Desert globemallow

Charcoal kilns

Sierra Woolly Indian Paintbrush

The road to Thorndike campground

Shooting wildflowers

Kettle's on!

Mmmmm, breakfast!

Desert iguana

Trying to persuade Bodie to join me

Sycamore Trees

So much beauty. So much fun. So many cool places to return to. So many side roads yet to explore.

I fell in love with the planet all over again. And with the company.

preparing

going camping!

Me + guy + dog are going camping this weekend! We’re off to Death Valley, with loose plans to check out some of the many ghost towns in the vicinity. And cook delicious meals over open fires. And sing a lot of songs.

I can’t wait.

[My close friends (I’m looking at you, Lola & sister) will recognize my scrappy picnic blanket, now getting pretty bedraggled, but still much-loved.]

where the river meets the desert

Colorado River, Picacho SRA

#full #moon rising over #colorado #river #picacho #camping

#colorado #river #sunset #picacho #camping

Feral burros
Feral burros

raccoons

grasshopper

North of Yuma, east of Salton Sea, Picacho State Recreation Area comprises miles of desert desolation along the beautiful Colorado River.

When David emailed me a while ago saying he’d be in Phoenix for a wedding, and suggesting some wilderness exploration, I picked Picacho as our destination. (And marveled that we’d see each other three times in five months. Which is probably more than we had in the previous ten years.)

It was a great choice. The weather was perfect and the campground empty. Of the 54 campsites, only 2 were occupied, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Well, except for the raccoons.

the desert is so strangely beautiful

It felt so good to unplug, unwind, hike, swim, and cook over an open fire. I heart camping. I just need a better sleeping pad.

desert break

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I’m heading to the desert for some camping and exploration. Back soon!

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