Wednesday, May 5, 2010



After all these years that I've been saying, wishing, hoping, thinking about going camping we finally did!!! HOORAY! And we had a wonderful time!

Now for those who are of the hotel variety, I'm sure there isn't much to be impressed about concerning a simple camping trip. (I shouldn't say anything bad about hotels. I like them too!) But I've got a list of reasons why camping has been on my mind for so long and why I've got the bug already to go back.

1. Childhood memories. One of my favorite childhood memories as a kid was my dad taking my brother and I to the Kern River on camping trips. It was a long ride in the back of the pick up truck (couldn't do that nowadays I guess) but once we got there there is just a certain spontaneous fun to exploring around and under trees, throwing rocks in the stream, and eating outside for a few days. Sure your feet get cold at night, but you're in a cool sleeping bag and you get to see stars at night and a sunrise in the morning.

I really really want to make these memories with my own kids. I want to be that family that goes and sees new places, pitches a tent and eats outside. I want my kids to see stars and trees and have those same childhood joys.

2. Nature and a change of scenery. I miss nature. A lot. My world is very suburban and it seems to get more claustrophobic all the time. When I grew up in San Dimas it was just in its beginning stages of becoming a developed city. There were still many agriculture plots with oranges or strawberries growing. I suppose my heart craves a slower pace of life, and yet the environment around me has only gotten busier with time. I am grateful to live in this part of Pomona that borders Claremont because there are a lot of nice trees here and nice homes, but it isn't the same as open space.

Also, because I am an at-home mom, I spend a huge chunk of my life inside of this house. I have been craving a major change of scenery for a long time!

3. Frugality. I always enjoy things more when I know it isn't costing me too much money. The lower cost of camping ups its fun-factor for me by a ton. Without the stress of thinking about the money, I can more fully enjoy the whole experience.


Now up to this point the main things that have prevented a weekend vacay in the woods are either pregnancy or baby related (how do we camp with a young baby???) or just our inexperience with equipment and such. There have also been work/schedule conflicts too.

Perhaps my dad took pity on us, or perhaps he was mostly sick and tired of hearing all the "talk but no action" in regards to the Oh-how-I-want-to-go-camping-we-need-to-go-camping-why-don't-we-go-camping discussions that have taken place over the years, but either which way he took the bull by the horns and organized this thing.

Thank you Dad!

He made the reservations, organized all the food, took me to buy a tent, bought us an air mattress, brought the tarp, tent stakes, and a bunch of other stuff. It was my job to pack clothes and bring my kids. And Jason too! Whew, that was tough!

Anyways, we decided to go to Malibu Creek State Park for our trip. It is local, has restrooms and showers, and has the type of scenery I was going for (wooded as opposed to beach). Here is the State Parks website where I searched for camping facilities If you know of other good websites that offer campsite searches, please let me know.

We arrived on Saturday and stayed until Monday. Here are the pics!

The Campsite

The Super Cool Tent

Oooh an Instant Tent! The box claims you can set it up in one minute.

It took about 20, but not bad for a first try.

It's big. 10'x14'

Big enough to fit Nattie's Pack n Play. There she is taking a nap.

Big windows! What a great view.

Good Eats

Dad cooked all the meals. And washed all the dishes. LUXURY! He made beef stew, brought hot dogs, for breakfast it was eggs, bacon and potatoes one morning and pancakes and sausage the next. Yum yum!

Animal Sightings

We saw several different types of fuzzy caterpillar.

There were lots of gophers poking their heads out of holes to say hello.

AND we saw a huge rattlesnake. Didn't get a picture of it though (the above is a web pic). Jason and I were walking and a man came up to us and asked if we knew the number for the Ranger Station because he saw a rattlesnake. He motioned for us to follow him and sure enough, there was a very healthy snake slithering through one of of the campsites that bordered the mountainside. I'm guessing said snake got hungry and wanted to give a go at one of the many gophers.

Having Fun

Jason, Dad and I had several sandbag tossing tournaments. This game is addicting!

Nattie was one dirty baby. Note to self: Next time bring the stroller so you have somewhere to sit her down when you don't want her sitting in/playing in/eating dirt.

Cold Mornings

Happy Family!

(We never did get a pic with all six of us, but I will next time.)


Yara said...

Oh you.... these pictures make me want to go camping!
I even have a camp stove & an air mattress. And I was looking at a tent at costco yesterday....
I think I am gonna just go for it & take my family camping!

any tips?

Jamie said...

Do it Yara! It's a lot of fun and your kids will love it :)

Some tips, sure:
1.Make sure there is shade. If you are choosing a camp location that doesn't have shaded areas then I would purchase a pop up thing to create that. The mid-day sun is hot.

2.Buy a tent that has lots of windows. Even in fairly mild weather the afternoon sun will cause a lot of heat to build up inside (like a car) so if you have any intention of taking a nap (or having your kids take one) you need to keep the windows open a lot to allow the air to circulate.

3. Bring hats for yourself and kids.

4. Bring the stroller to have a place to set Kevin down when you don't want him walking all over creation.

5. Wear two pairs of socks at night and wear a hoodie jacket/sweater to cover your ears. The nights are cold. Same for the kids.

6. At this age a clean bathroom is a must for me! I refuse to do a port-a-potty situation with little kids. The state parks keep their restrooms clean and I appreciate that. I would also choose a campsite that is close to the restroom because you know you are going to have to get up in the middle of the night to take them.

That's what comes to mind right now.

Iris said...

I am literally seeking tents online because of this post LOL!

GORGEOUS pictures and so much fun :D you DID IT! You made it happen. Now, make it a tradition ;)

Jamie said...

Ha ha! Good! Maybe we can all end up at the same campground.

We got our tent at Sam's Club for $150.

traceyjay said...

What a great trip!

I think my favorite growing up memories are almost all camping.

Good job Mama. :)

Shannon said...

When I read about camping, I get the urge to become a camper ... but I'm thinking it will probably stay in fantasy realm for me ... unless I receive the gift of an RV someday. HA!!

Looks like fun, though!!!

Anonymous said...

Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and even National Forest Service have web sites with tons of information ma-ma-in-la