I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. I prefer to camp with a group – I like sitting around the campfire, marshmallow melting, group meals and the atmosphere. I also need a bathroom with running water, preferably a shower as well. Warm water is a plus. Finally, around here I need a good bear box. I really don’t enjoy swinging all of our food and toiletry items up on a rope to try to keep it away from the bears.
Anyway, July was a big camping month.
Fourth of July weekend, we were derelict in making plans. I like to be at home for the fireworks but the lure of a four-day weekend is hard to resist. Some friends of ours had reserved a campsite at Mammoth and invited us to join them for a night or two. Saturday morning, we headed up to Mammoth with just our tent and an overnight bag for a quick camping trip.
The campsite in Mammoth was perfect – it was right off the main road but tucked back far enough that we felt like we were in the woods. It also had my requisite flush potties and large bear box. Our site was huge and easily fit our tent as well as our friends'.
There is plenty to do in the Mammoth area. Even in July there was morning skiing going on. We decided to take a few small hikes. On Saturday we hiked an obsidian dome and then up to a little alpine lake. Sunday we took the bus into Devils Postpile National Monument and hiked from the monument to the waterfall. Both hikes were about 3 miles and were slightly strenuous. Our friends stayed another night but we headed home on Sunday so we could enjoy the actual 4th of July at home.
The following weekend was B’s birthday and for months we had been planning a big camping trip down near San Diego. At the Marine base (Camp Pendleton) there was beach camping – its expensive ($50/night) and crowded but you can’t beat the views. We literally pitched our tents right at the water’s edge. All day we enjoyed playing in the sand, snacking and hanging out. They had movies on the beach in the evening.
My only advice for this place is to make sure you get a water front spot or it's not worth it. The spots are actually made for campers and RV’s so be prepared to be surrounded by those if you are just tent camping. You should also just embrace that there will be sand everywhere! Regardless, it was a great weekend. I loved waking up to the sounds of the ocean just down the beach from my tent!
We already have our next camping trip on the calendar...now if i can just get a larger tent.