Our desert is warming up. Every day is now into triple digits and this weekend called for temperatures close to 110F, so it is time to focus our camping from the desert to mountains. Our first mountain camping trip of the season provided three nights of cool mountain air and rich starry nights.
When camping we normally skip conventional campgrounds with organized camp sites, people squeezed into little parking spaces that turn into little cities of noise and civilization. Might as well go to Walmart and set-up the camper in the parking lot.
Since we have many secret places to camp, most within an hour or two of where we live, there is no sane reason to endure a campground. This trip is about an hour from our house. From nearly sea level and lots of palms trees, to mountain and pine trees!
Campgrounds also come equipped with rules. Check in after 3PM. Check out at Noon or pay for an extra night, etc., etc. So we went to one of our favorite dispersed camping areas. Only rules are to leave it cleaner than you found it, and obey the fire rules when in place. Of course getting to these secret places usually entails a bit of non-paved roadways and no fees to camp.
But a dirt road is not an inconvenience, it is our little own yellow brick road to special places.
CAMPING OR BACKPACKING?
Both are good. Joyce isn’t going backpacking, but she likes to hike. So a camping trip with her includes amenities such as a shaded patio, furnace if cold, refrigerator, stove, over, bar-b-que, nice soft bed, a porcelain toilet, and a shower to mention a few.
And we usually do long day hikes when we go camping. It is kind of hard to beat that combination, especially when the return to camp means a hot shower, and maybe a Margarita or a bowl of ice cream, while sitting outside of the camper in the shade of our awning.
And Joyce is a good sport. She doesn’t mind if I go backpacking often. And she doesn’t mind where we hike together. Off trail, on trail, cross country, down remote canyons, she does it all. So our hiking trips are great fun.
This trip was mostly a kick-back and enjoy the cool weather and time together. I did some hiking while she rested. And we spent most of Sunday afternoon playing Scrabble. Since we were not in a campground, the departure time was up to us. We packed up and left just as the sun was setting. We only saw 4 people in the area, and two were rangers who stopped by to check on us.
I got in some good hiking. Years ago in the area I found a couple of Native American mortars. So I went looking for them. Not exactly from memory, but I was looking for a place that would be attractive to stay and close to water. I figured that a place like that would be a place natives would want to stay to prepare food. And the method worked.