Camping, Revisited

As a kid, I went camping all the time. My friends now would probably never guess it, because I’ve lived in California for seven years and only just recently visited one of the hundreds of campsites in this state…but hear me out. I was a Girl Scout until age 18. I have a scar on my wrist where I cut myself on a rusty homemade charcoal chimney (doesn’t that make me legit?). Combine the aforementioned charcoal chimney with a box and aluminum foil, and I can bake a pan of brownies in the wilderness. I’ve camped in forests and fields and beaches. I’ve camped near lakes and rivers and the ocean. Camping brings back such vivid, wonderful childhood memories.

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And yet, after so many years, I guess you could say I got burnt out. But more recently I’ve had the itch to start camping again. There’s something about being in nature that’s so peaceful and simultaneously feels adventurous. So when my friend Becky suggested taking a camping trip, I was pretty excited. Now, you might not be able to tell from these pictures, but the weekend had disaster potential written all over it. Luckily Becky is one of my most optimistic, upbeat friends, so I knew we’d have fun no matter what. Driving up the coast after work, the fog was so thick that I had to wind around the cliffs at 10mph. Our campground was on a bluff overlooking the ocean but when we woke up, the rain was coming down and we couldn’t see a thing. Becky brought a Jet Boil to make coffee but neither of us realized you needed a separate gas unit (oops, and thank you neighbors for sharing your hot water!). Oh yeah, and fires were prohibited (yup, no s’mores. No smoky clothes. No huddling around the flames.).

But still…we had an amazing time. No matter the weather, Big Sur is a spectacular place. We took a long drive and got lunch at Big Sur Bakery, where I had the most amazing vegetable sandwich and bought a loaf of bread bigger than my head. We wandered without a plan, pulling off the road whenever the sun peaked out to walk and take pictures. We stopped to watch surfers battling 12 foot waves, then wandered the rocks on Sand Dollar Beach. We ended up at Treebones resort where Becky was gutsy enough to ask if we could hang out in the lodge, and where in turn, the staff was kind enough to let us crash for five hours by the fireplace, playing board games and drinking wine.

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On the second day and last day, the clouds lifted and we went on a two hour hike with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. After, we got brunch at Post Ranch Inn, a super swanky hotel. We splurged on the prix fixe menu, featuring goat cheese-stuffed squash blossoms, fish with asparagus and flourless chocolate cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream made with mint fresh-picked from the restaurant’s garden. We drank champagne with lavender blossoms and just marveled at the view. The meal was really exceptional, and we both agreed that it was so nice to enjoy with a fellow foodie. Seriously, we must have moaned after every bite.

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So, it’s official. I’ve been bit by the camping bug!

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