Thursday, August 5, 2010

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods... there is a rapture on the lonely shore.

I treated our last camping trip, to Carpinteria State Beach back in May, as a test trip. It was close to home, close to town, had real, water running bathrooms, showers. I figured I'd break us in slowly.

Since it went so well, I took Snork up on her invite to Mammoth over 4th of July weekend. Snork was meeting some dirtbiking friends. We were just touristing.

So, I rented a tent, again, from REI, because I'm not quite so committed that I was shelling out a couple hundred bucks to own one yet, when I can rent one for $45 for 3 days.

But a few days before we leave, a mutual FB friend of ours (well, FB friend of mine, RL friend to her) tells Snork she has a tent she'll give me for free - giant, 3 rooms, we could practically LIVE in there. I'm so stoked.

I am also paranoid, and like to be fully prepared for anything. So despite Snork's laughing at me, I did not cancel my REI rental tent.

So we left the day before Snork did, spent the night in Fresno, and toured Yosemite the next day before heading to camp. Meanwhile, Snork is picking up our magical new (free) tent on her way up from camp. Promising, even, to have it all set up nice and pretty for us when we get there.

Cell service in Yosemite is pretty spotty, but I start getting texts from Snork, like...

"Did you cancel the REI tent?"

"hey, do you have a tent?"

"did you cancel the tent????"

"CALL ME"

"But did you cancel?? CALL ME!"

Turns out, the tent picking up was unsuccessful. There was a bag. There were stakes. There was a footprint. Alas, there was no tent.

Moral of the story: Do not laugh at your friends' preparedness, even if it borders on paranoia.

Camping this time was a bit more... rustic, than last. And by rustic, I mean, 40 minutes from the closest "town", up a dirt hill 20 minutes into the mountains, no water, no cell service.

The upside to this, was the blanket of stars we saw all night. It was kind of mind-boggling, coming from LA, where it's a handful of stars in a night, to this.

Being a dirtbiking trip, there were plenty of bikes around, which the kidlets kind of dug...

Baby made friends with Riley, whose name is burned into my psyche forever, thanks to Riley's owner screeching for him every 10 minutes while Riley wandered through neighboring campsites....
It was super, super dusty - far worse even than the windy beach camping. This was not sand, this was dirty, grimy dust. And it flew. And was everywhere. So it was tough to stay... clean, and not FEEL dusty. I watched Mr. Snork molest his feet with baby wipes for a good 10 minutes....

Apparently, ones feet must be dirt free prior to putting on dirt biking boots.

Ahem.

We toured the town of Mammoth, which is cute, and houses.....
Yep. A Coach outlet. It was pretty exciting. I was hesitant to even go in, you know, with the dusty and all, but I did, and it was glorious.

We went to the beach at June Lake. The water looked pretty chilly, which was confirmed by the shivering children who kept playing in it. I grew up in Florida, where we do not swim in fresh water (gators, yo). But this water... was clean, and clear, and had fishies, and snowy mountain top reflections, and was perect. If it were 20 degrees warmer, I'da been all over it.

#2 likes to show off that she is completely unfeeling, so she frolicked in the lake like it was a bathtub. Which, let's be honest, after 3 days in the wilderness and no running water, it essentially was.

I was shocked - shocked! - by how cool it was still in the middle of summer. Day times were warm, but the second the sun started to set, it dropped down to Hella Cold. And stayed that way until mid-moning. The Sierra Nevada's? That isht is cold at night. My gas station hat from Gorman came in handy....

We watched July 4th Fireworks at Crowley Lake... Baby tossed pebbles into the lake where people were trying to fish...


#1 and The Niece made questionable fashion decisions...

And, as it does, the sun set over the lake.

If I were a better planner, I'd have had batteries for my camera and could show you said fireworks. But trust me when I say, the $25 was worth it, and it was spectacular.

We did some hiking around camp, up the mountainside, which gave me some time to play with the macro setting on my camera....


The drive home, on the eastern side of the Sierra's, was... interesting...
Eat? No thanks.

We left camp early, around 7 am... when it was about 45 degrees. Which we were dressed for - sweaters, jeans, hats, the works. The 395 runs along the western edge of Death Valley. Shockingly....
Didn't really feel that bad. Obviously, it's hot, but... it's a dry heat? Anyway, when we got out of the car to run into CVS for drinks, we looked... ridiculous.

All in all, I'd call it a success. No one hated it, we mostly enjoyed it. The biggest complaint was that the vault toilets were icky (and, legitimately, they were.... Baby even told me one time, "This is NOT a potty. This is a trash can." Even she knew.).

1 comment:

Moderate Means said...

"A paranoid man is a man who knows a little about what's going on." ~ William S Burroughs

See - you were actually a WISE woman, not a paranoid one ;)

Trip looks amazing! Completely out of my league (I am too fond of walls and proper toilets to camp) but so awesome!

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