MG turns 36!

This past Sunday was MG’s 36th birthday!

He came back from Los Angeles after a weeklong work trip on Friday. After a one night rest at home, we set out to go camping on Saturday morning. My sister Katie and her boyfriend, Baldwin, are in town. They’ve been camping in Texas once before and didn’t love it, but it’s nothing like NorCal California camping! Amirite NorCal people?

We drove to a new campsite called Bootjack Campgrounds at Mount Tamalpais State Park in Marin County. This campsite was established in 1920s and closed 1969 because of overuse. But it’s been reopened as of this year! It’s a first come, first serve site, and it was available for us! Thankfully most of the sites were actually empty. We decided to set up shop right next to a running creek so we could hear the stream when sleeping. With some lunch in our stomach, we went hiking on Old Mine Trail, which was a 1 mile hike to a scenic spot called The Bench. It overlooks the Bay and Stinson Beach, and in the far distance, my beloved city of San Francisco.

Tent

After the view, we hiked back, finished setting up our sleeping bags, and took a well-needed nap. I have the most comfortable naps when I camp – maybe it’s the fresh air. But they are awesome!

Mg Hiking

Hiking

Selfie

Scene

Scenic

After waking, it was time to build the fire, which I think is still the best part of camping. The firewood made me a hungry girl so I started dinner around 5:30 (I’m such a g-ma!). Camping always means eating well. Don’t ever tell me that food isn’t part of camping. As MG says, “food makes every situation better.” And camping is no different. Garlic fries, mushrooms, grilled corn, and steak for dinner. Can’t ask for a better meal! And obviously smores is on the dessert menu. Wouldn’t have it any other way!

Flowers
Katie picked some flowers for our dinner table!

Lams

Cooking

Steak
Uh huh! ^^^

Chef Ming
Thanks Chef Ming ^^^

Dinner

Eating

Magical Fountain
After meals, we washed our cookware in the “magical fountain”

Smores
My infamous inside out smores!

We stayed up poking at the fire until 11pm. And there was this huge slug hanging out with us by the fire. We named her Daisy. Say hi!

Daisy

MG and I woke up in the morning and watched the sunrise then made breakfast. Another epic meal – corned beef hash, toasted english muffin, sunny side up eggs, bacon, and tangerine juice. Yum! And this breakfast concluded the camping trip.

Sunrise
Beautiful view to wake up to!

Breakfast

Corned Beef

Bacon

It was another successful trip (though I forgot my wine opener, darn)! And I’m pretty sure Katie and Baldwin enjoy camping too now!

I love camping! Few reasons:

1. I love waking up to fresh air. It makes every sleep a well-rested sleep. Even if I wake up a few times in the night, I still wake up feeling refreshed.
2. I love peeing in the woods. I feel like a free woman! TMI? Never on this blog!
3. Campfires. No details needed.

Happy birthday

Happy birthday my love. I hope you enjoyed your birthday celebration (even though I love to camp and you don’t, and that’s my favorite cake and not yours).

Cake
Seriously, best cake – Berry Chantilly from Whole Foods ^^^

What do you do to celebrate your birthday? Do you have some recommended camping spots? Please share!

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

  

Camping at Mt. Diablo

This past weekend I went camping at Mt. Diablo, northeast of Danville. It’s only a 40 minute drive from my house, and it’s a great way to relax and getaway from the city (close enough that we still had phone reception, whew!). Our friends stayed for Friday night, and then MG and I had a nice romantic night to ourselves on Saturday.

Our CampsiteOur campsite

Me

We stayed at the Juniper campgrounds, and though there were showers and clean toilets, I do not recommend this campsite for September. Why? Because it was very hot and dry! The afternoon temperatures range from mid 80’s to mid 90’s, so you’re stuck in the shade (some campsites are shadeless so get there early to reserve a spot with a big tree). When you’re in the shade, be prepared to get attacked by flies, swarming around your face, crawling on your arms and legs, and trying to get into your shorts… Ugh… Basically it’s so hot you’re stuck in your tent to avoid flies. Once you embrace the flies and let them have their way (not in your shorts), then you’re really able to enjoy camping.

In the morning, it was cool enough to go hiking. So I put on my cat socks, and then we hiked!

Cat socks
Thanks for the socks mommy!

Hiking trail
Look at this uphill climb!

Hiking View
Hiking View

Handsome
My handsome husband

Summit
At the summit of Mt. Diablo

And obviously, if you go camping with me, there will always be a good meal planned.

Cooking

Food

Yum!

Camping food!

The gang

At dawn, the animals all come out. You decide whether it’s a good or bad thing after I tell you about the wildlife.

We saw a coyote and a fox. We also saw a bat flying around the camp. And we made friends with this little guy, who was creeping about 1 foot away from me and stole my Wavy Ranch chips. He then told his raccoon friends to come over to our camp to feast…

Racoon

And then this:

TarantulasDo you see it?

TARANTULAS! A ranger let us know that there is a tarantula migration going on at Mt. Diablo… As you drive towards the camp grounds, they are crossing the road. It’s really cool to see these guys out in the wild, but after seeing these creepy crawlies, paranoia overcomes you. Which is scarier? Having one crawl onto you at night or stepping on one and hearing all it’s crunchiness… Thankfully none of this happened but you can’t help but wonder things like this when you see these big boys! So all the wildlife, what do you think, good or bad?

Once it gets dark, one of my favorite things about camping happens – the campfire!

CampfireWe had to use Duraflame log so it wasn’t as good as a real campfire. Since the mountain was so dry, wood fires were banned for the weekend so this had to do.

And yes, roasting marshmallows are on the top of the camping favorites list too!

Roasting marshmallows

On Saturday, MG and I played Monopoly Deal all day. We didn’t know what else to do… What do people usually do during the day while camping? Any suggestions?

In the evening, we watched the sun set across the Bay Area, and it was beautiful!

Sunset

Married

Shadows

As you can see, this was a memorable camping trip. I especially loved the evening when it cooled down to the 70s, and the bugs are gone. At night, it’s warm enough if you have a tent with a mesh top, that’s all you need, no outer shell. With the mesh, you’re able to fall asleep with trees and stars as your view, and that alone makes this campsite worth it, just maybe not in September.

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

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Reserve a campsite at Mt. Diablo here