Fall Camping on Palomar Mountain

Before you give my post title the side-eye, I will have you know that the first official day of Winter is December 21!

View from Palomar Mountain

For the past two years, our friend group has gone camping on Palomar Mountain at the Doane Valley Campground, which is aĀ little over an hourĀ northeast ofĀ San Diego. We’ve gone one of the first two weekends of November, when the weather definitely feels likeĀ “fall,” but it is not yet too cold to be sleeping outside in a tent.

Pinecones

Both years, the itinerary has been as such:

  1. Arrive to the campsite and get tents/gear set up
  2. ShortĀ hike up the fire road to view the sunset (watch out for mountain lionsā€”really)
  3. Food and drink around the campfire until we run out of firewood
  4. Wake up with the sun (this year we had a jetboil to makeĀ coffeeā€”so helpful)
  5. Longer hike. Both times we’ve done a modified version of the “Chimney Flat” hike.
  6. Brunch at the vegetarian diner outside the state park

Each time, we have only camped out for one night. A lot of people in our group work in the school system, and fall is such a busy time; this 24 hour period withoutĀ cell reception is perfect to unwind and connect with nature. There wereĀ plenty of other campers with lots more stuff and I could tell they were settled in for a number of days.

This year’s trip felt very special since last year we were all just beginning to spend time together. I sort of happened to fall in with a few old classmates a couple years younger than me who were freshmen/sophomores when I was a senior. I knew them but didn’t know them, until Doug and I spontaneously agreed to go on last year’s camping trip.Ā It was really the event that gelled us into the “squad” we are today. We even jokingly called ourselves “Squad 14” since we were camping at site 14, but somehow the name has stuck for more than a year.

Campsite 14

Camping Crew

Making friends as an adult is really weird and really hard. When we moved out here to San Diego, we were starting over, aside from maybe 3 or 4 people I was still in touch with from college. We had just left an awesome friend group in Kansas so we were drifting a bit. A few years later, we are now part of a #squad and I couldn’t be happier. I know that like most things in life, this friend group will wax and wane, but for the moment I am feeling lucky to haveĀ found such good people.

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Desert Camping at Anza Borrego

A few weeks ago I went desert camping with a couple of my buddies! Actually, it was Coachella weekend, but we didn’t go all the way to Indio for that. Why spend multiple hundreds of dollars on a concert ticket when you can rent a modest campsite for $25 a night, eat hot dogs, and listen to iTunes?

Anza Borrego 1

Oh, did I tell you guys yet? I’m into camping now. I’ve been 2 1/2 times! To explain the “half” time, it was on this particular trip, when I drove over for the day and then went home that night. I was unsure about camping overnight in a tent with Mosey (we’ve never done that) plus, this semester was just exhausting for me and I couldn’t bear the thought of sleeping on the ground (even with my comfy air sleep pad).

April in in the Anza-Borrego desert was just perfect. It was nice and hot, but not too hot. Just hot enough that you don’t feel bad about sitting in the shade drinking cool beverages (instead of exploring). We were a couple of weeks too late for the famous wildflowers, but nonetheless there’s just something to be said about the beauty of the desert.

Anza Borrego 1

Anza Borrego 3

I love the greens and yellows against the blue and purple mountain backdrop.

The campsites were very nice and new. I was impressed! Later I read in a guidebook that the reason the campsites were so new was that a massive flash flood in the mid 00sĀ had washed everything out. So, everything was rebuilt anew. Sad, but glad for the nice new digs, which are pretty rare in the camping world.

Anza Borrego 4

Anza Borrego 2

There was a nearby hike to an oasis(!), but the trail was dog-prohibitive (so as not to disturb the wildlife, which included jackrabbits and bighorn sheep) so I went with everyone to the trail head but then Mosey and I went back to the campsite toĀ arrange all the food, read my kindle, and build the fire. Doug took a few cool shots at the oasis though. Next time, I’m definitely hiking all the way there.

Anza Borrego 7

Anza Borrego 6

The following day, while I was at home relaxing with Mosey, the crew took a much more grueling hike to Maidenhair Falls. Sounds wimpy, but I’m glad I wasn’t there to slow everyone down. It sounded really hard, but the waterfall at the end must have been so magical!

How do you guys feel about camping?Ā I won’t say I love sleeping on the hard ground, but I love how affordable it can beĀ for a quick weekend escape. Any favorite campsites to point me toward?

Selfie Challenge Reflection

It always stumped me that Instagram pictures of myself got many likes, compared to the most artistic neighborhood shot, or perfectly edited food pic. After all, that’s what I like to see, and its what my feed consists of! Nope, actually there are people out there who like me for me, and not because of my delicious meals or artful pics of plants.

Selfie Challenge

Participating in Libby’s #xoxoselfie challenge opened my eyes to the fact that, honestly, I loveĀ getting glimpses into my friends’ lives, and they probably like getting glimpses into mine. Sure, a picture of my croissant is a glimpse into my life, but it’s easier to make that a “fluff” post as opposed to — BAM– a pic of my faceĀ and a little personal update.Ā Selfies are often seen as narcissistic, but aren’t “show-off-y” pics of an amazing brunch just as self-centered if not more so? “Look atĀ what a great time I’m having” can occasionally blur into “be jealous of me,” right? I mean, it’s totally possibleĀ I am having a great time and for that matter, too self conscious to put myself in the photo so I let the food/coffee/scenery speak for me.

Especially considering that I haven’t been that crazy about my own looks lately, it’s nice to haveĀ that little nudge. “Hey, you’re OK.”Ā A little exercise in self-appreciation when it’s so easy and we are so used to putting ourselves down. My thoughts are interesting. My stories are mine. I don’t plan for my whole feed to consist of selfies now, or ever, butĀ I might just slip in some more personal thoughts every so often.