Camping in Big Sur!

I went camping again this weekend! Last weekend it was at Henry Coe, inland camping. This time I went to Big Sur, coastal camping. Wow does that make a difference!

Inland is hot. Coastal has moderate temperatures but perfect sleeping weather. Inland, lots of bugs. Coastal, just moths at night. Inland, dry, dust, and dirt. Coastal means lots of greenery. I think I know which I like better!

Table

Cliff
This is the view we woke up to!

View
Even the fog in the morning is so beautiful

Set up

Anyway, Big Sur is a hard place to make camping reservations. Typically, you need to make a reservation a year in advance because it’s extremely popular. When my friend asked if I wanted to go to Big Sur, it was an immediate yes, even though I went camping the weekend before. He lucked out by getting a reservation to a site that recently opened, so yes! yes! yes!

We got into the camp site Friday evening and set up our tents for bedtime. On Saturday, we got up early, ate breakfast, and then headed to the beach for the day. I finally got a day on the beach with LOTS OF SUN! It’s rare that that happens to me. For some reason, every time I set out to go to the beach, it’s cloudy. NOT this time; I got my vitamin D in! Afterwards, we headed back to the campsite and I fell asleep while reading under the shade of a tree. It’s the perfect way to spend any weekend… We got up for dinner, played games and chatted around the campfire and went to sleep. For Sunday morning, we ate breakfast, packed up, and left the campsite.

Campfire

Hike
Hiking to the beach ^^^

Beach sitting
Silly Asians, hiding from the sun!

Beach

Sandals
I LOVE these sandals. Salt Water are highly recommended in my book!

Girls

Cooking
Steak, garlic shrimp, and quinoa – Oh my!

Evidence
In the morning, we found evidence that someone was digging through our stuff!

Of course on our way home, we stopped at Marianne’s Ice Cream in Santa Cruz. You can’t pass this shop and not stop in!

Marianne's

Another fantastic camping trip! A perfect little weekend getaway.

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

  

Hottest Camping Weekend Ever!

This was by far the hottest weekend I’ve ever gone camping. When we arrived at Henry Coe State Park on Friday, the temperature reached 103° F. We knew we were in for some heat. That’s an understatement!

Bees and wasps galore when the heat is in. They swarmed our food, but thankfully no one got stung. That’s good right? Since the state of California is in a drought right now, everything is dry. Sadly for us, that meant no charcoal or wood fires. No campfire makes me a sad girl. Nonetheless it was still a fun trip!

On Friday night, we got in, scoped out our sites, pitched our tents, and started to make dinner before dark. I prepped some chicken teriyaki at home so we simply cooked it, cooked some spam, heated the rice up, and supplemented with seaweed. Asian meal at it’s finest, chicken for protein and deconstructed spam musubis for dinner. I also made some brownies at home to bring as dessert. Delish!

Niki

Boys

Aaron

Spam

We played some games that night and then went to sleep. MG and I didn’t use our tarp over our tents that night so that we could see through the mess and feel the night breeze. Comparatively speaking to my other camping experiences, this was a hot night. Mid 60°F to low 70°F is pretty hot for sleeping. Once dawn hit, it was too hot to sleep in; everyone was up by 7am.

We prepped breakfast, sat around and talked, made our sandwiches, and started a 5 mile hike. We even brought our swimsuits because midway through the hike, there’s a lake. We were excited to be able to cool off… but once we got to the lake, we realized why it was named “frog lake.” Thousands of frogs jumping everywhere, a layer of slime, and stagnant water. Great! Who’s getting in first? Nobody. We didn’t want to risk our lives in this water…

Gang

Hiking

Gandalf
^^^ Look at Gandalf here trying to fashion his walking stick

Frog Lake
Oh okay… Let me just jump right in here… NOT

Frogs
All those rock lookin things… frogs.

We hiked back down and asked the ranger where we could swim. Apparently in the county of Santa Clara, you cannot swim in bodies of water. Our ranger told us 1) we could swim in frog lake (who-the-eff does that!?!) or 2) we could “fall” into Anderson Lake nearby to cool off. We drove back down the mountain and dipped into the super muddy Lake to cool off. At that point, having some sort of water to degrease and get the caked on sunscreen off was worth it!

Perhaps we stopped by a McDonald’s afterwards for ice cream… maybe. Can you blame me?

We fix up some burgers, ramen, smores and smoreos for the night. Oh yes, you read that right. I said smoreos; roasted marshmallows sandwiched into oreos. You’re welcome for opening your eyes.

Smores

We played games, the girls did facials, and then we all headed to bed for an early morning to get to church on time.

Note to the reader: Quiet time is at 10pm at campsites. Don’t cook and talk loudly at midnight! Or else you’ll hear from me…

Great camping trip! I’ve had better ones but the fellowship during this trip was definitely memorable!

Have a great week y’all!
Jay

  

Camping Prep

I’m going camping this weekend at Henry Coe State Park!

My fellowship group decided to take a weekend trip together, and we chose the great outdoors. If you’ve been reading along you know I love camping! Can’t wait to get away from technology, snuggle into my sleeping bag, and read. Oh yup, you already know food is a big, hu-mun-go part of camping. As usual, I’m in charge of groceries. There’s going to be some good eats!

We’re going to be a group of 13. I love shopping for medium/large groups because there’s such a wide selection of things to choose from. It’s also fun for me to keep costs to a minimum when it comes to that many people. Challenge accepted. I love it!

I went shopping for snacks today at Target. Lots of goodies. It’s like a kid at a candy store!

Target

For drinks we got Anchor Steam, Pinot Noir, Gatorade, Water, and Dr. Pepper. I even made brownies for dessert for tomorrow night!

For snacks, check this out:

Snacks

Yes!

I forgot the beef jerky on purpose because I need the huge bag from Costco 😉

What are your favorite camping snacks? Am I missing anything good? Onto Costco tomorrow…

Fat kid at heart,
Jay

  

Hiking With Doggies!

I went camping again this past weekend! I love camping. I enjoy waking up to fresh air. Oh, and that campfire!

This was the first time I went camping with an air mattress. And damn, it’s good. I don’t think I can ever go back to sleeping pads. We went back to Bootjack Campgrounds at Mount Tamalpais State Park in Marin County, same campsite as my last trip. It’s nice that it’s an easy 1.5 hours away from the East Bay.

We got in on Friday night around 10pm, set up our tents, and went to bed. It was extremely cold that night, around 40°F. Having to pee in the middle of the night is a hurdle. But when one cannot simply hold it anymore, one has to brave the cold and squat. Thankfully I have a husband that is willing to accompany me! Makes for more fun!

We woke up Saturday morning, ate breakfast, took a nap, ate lunch, and went hiking. Yup, you read that right. Before noon, we already ate and took a nap – that’s the best part about camping!

Burger
Cheeseburgers for lunch, before the hike

We hiked to Cataract Falls and back to our campsite, which was a total 5.6 miles. Very enjoyable, and highly recommended. It’s a tiring hike, at least for me. You know your legs are tired when they fail you and you kick a rock because your feet is dragging. Then you almost eat it… Maybe that happened to me, maybe…

Fog
Look at that fog rolling in – yeah it was cold!

Hiking
Hi Jess & Bailey!  ^^^

Rest
After an uphill climb, a much needed rest

Falls
Cataract Falls

Slug
Banana slug! Slimyyyy

Doggies
Our friends Josh and Joe joined us with their doggies! Meet Bailey and Flynn

Gang
The gang

Once we got back, we started the fire for warmth and began cooking dinner, tri-tip kabobs!

Kebobs

Dan

This time around before I went to bed, I brought some heat into my sleeping bag for the night. Pro-tip: Heat up water and place it into a metal water bottle. Then put the bottle into a long sock and stuff it into your sleeping bag for warmth. The sock prevents the metal from burning you. This makes all the difference!

We got up Sunday morning, cooked breakfast, packed up, then headed to church. Once I got home, I took a shower and then fell asleep on the couch. Another successful camping trip!

What did you do this weekend?
Jay

  

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