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.

morro bay getaway

Morro Bay Morro Rock from the Elfin Forest

Natal bottlebrush (Greyia sutherlandii)

Twisted oak trunks in the Elfin Forest #elfinforest #morrobay #lososos

Azure Bush Germander (Teucrium frutican azureum)

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Just spent a couple of days exploring the back roads of the Central Coast with the Guy + dog. So much green. Wildflowers out early. Horses and bunnies and turkey vultures. We had a beer at Parkfield on the San Andreas Fault. We drove over the Santa Lucia Range from inland to Big Sur, and descended into an ocean of cloud. We visited the Leaning Pine Arboretum and discovered new plants. We earmarked lots of places for future exploration and adventures. I love the way every experience begets more; there is no end to the wonder of this world.

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.

the peace of wild things

Fence lizard

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

(this is why i hike)

my sister

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Sister and I spent a day in Sydney, wandering here and there, stopping to eat and enjoy the view. Just the two of us. It was perfect :-)

felix and cali

Rhea didn’t bring her babies when she visited Tui, so I snuck away for a couple of nights to play with them.

#felixhepburn

Is this the coolest 2-yr-old in the world, or what?

#calihepburn

And um, yeah … can you say gorgeous?

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.

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.]

hint of more to come

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It’s late. I am only part way through editing photos of my central coast getaway. This one will have to do, for now.

::: happy sigh :::

desert break

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

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