Monday, February 23, 2015

Birthday Camping

It’s funny, because I’ve gone camping more in the last year than in my whole life combined. :P Growing up, my family wasn’t big on camping. I was a Girl Scout as a child, but the troop I was in was more like “Troop Beverly Hills” and we didn’t do a whole lot of camping.  

A few weeks ago (blonde) Gianna and I were hiking and talking about how fun a camping trip would be. It just so happens that Gianna and Preston have birthdays that are very close together (Gianna’s is the 21st  and Preston’s is the 23rd of Feb.), so we decided it was the perfect weekend to go. Plus, we camped on Pres' b-day last year. Maybe this should be made a tradition?? 

Being the planner that I am, I took the wheel on making the weekend happen. I always try to DO and follow up with what I say. I know things can happen, but it really bugs me when people exclaim, “oh we should totally do ____” and then make a big deal of it with no intention to ever GO. I try never to be one of ‘those people’.  ;)

Anyway, I narrowed it down to a few campsites and Gianna picked her favorite. Luckily, Gianna is a planner (like me!), so we spent all week last week mailing back and forth ideas for food/clothes, etc.

Preston and Gavin, of course, just threw some stuff in a bag ;) We hit a small glitch on Friday when we realized we’d missed a key piece of information in our planning…a mudslide.

EVERYDAY for the last 2-3 months, I have passed a sign saying that PCH is closed at County Line because of a mudslide. I had assumed (never assume!) that the campground I had chosen was south of there. However, it was not. The campground was north.

What should have been an easy trip up the coast and through Malibu became an hour detour through winding canyon roads. Blast! I ended up working later than I’d hoped and with the detour, we arrived at the campsite in the dark. Not the most ideal, but we rolled with it.

Funnily enough, another friend from LA was randomly camping two sites over!! Small world!

Preston and I started setting up camp and were warned by our neighboring camper that a group of 30 Boy Scouts would be arriving in the morning. Eek. We decided to stay put, since we had such a great site!

Gavin and Gianna soon joined us. The guys expertly built a fire and set up the tents, while Gianna and I started on dinner. Ah, gender stereotypes ;)

For the first night, Gianna made an assortment of kabobs (chicken and vegetarian) with couscous. It was delicious!

We had bought a few bundles of firewood, but they were going up quickly. It is not allowed in California State Parks to burn wood from the ground. :-/

A couple from across the way came over and asked if they could borrow a few logs. The camp host selling firewood had closed at 8 and they had no way to cook their dinner.  Since we had no wood to spare, we invited them into our camp to share our fire.

I’m not sure if it was chance, or just the fact that you tend to meet like-minded people while camping, but we became fast friends with Haley and Craig. Craig is an accountant and Haley is an aspiring actress. You can catch her recent PetSmart commercial here.

The six of us sat around the fire talking and laughing and drinking red wine (mostly out of Preston's wine satchel!!) late into the night…just until the firewood ran out (don’t tell, but we totally threw in a big stump from back in the woods). Boy, it got chilly…but camping outside in February is nothing to complain about :D

Saturday was the perfect lazy camp day. After the guys got the fire going again (which wasn’t hard with the still smoldering log), Gianna and I got started on some breakfast. We boiled some water, which quickly became ashy and had some hot tea and coffee. We fried up some scrambled eggs and cheese. I learned a cool camping trick online, which is to pre-scramble the eggs. It cut down on lots of mess and broken eggs. :P Haley threw in some tomatoes and spinach, we added the extra kabobs from the night before, and some tortillas to make a respectable feast. Haley had this really cool concentrated coffee mix from Trader Joes and made us all iced coffees. Yum.

Good Morning! 

I also had some banana bread I’d whipped up on Thursday night. I tell ya-bananas rot so fast in our damp apartment. Thank God for banana bread!

After lounging around a bit, we decided to walk over to the beach. It was a beautiful day with puffy clouds and the water was aquamarine. We played around on the beach doing handstands.



Then we decided to walk up the beach and road a bit to see the mudslide. I’m not sure if there just isn’t anything there or if we didn’t go far enough, but we couldn’t see anything like a mudslide. Just about a mile of closed road. Hrmm.

We ventured back to the camp and got some more firewood. Haley fed us all an appetizer of bok choy and shrimp and then we chowed down on some vegetarian chili I had made. It was another great night around the campfire. It was just the right temperature and we got some sprinkles of rain.

Road Closed

The Boy Scouts were mostly well behaved and we had fun listening in on their adolescent conversations, some of which were a bit disturbing and reminiscent of Steve Carrell describing breasts in “The 40 Year Old Virgin”. I can say that given the choice…I’d rather not share two toilets with 30 boys, but I was glad for the camp bathroom anyway.

Haley and Craig were gone before we were up on Sunday, but I hope we’ll see them again back in LA. They live quite close to us!

We packed it up and headed home to watch the Oscars. It was a great weekend of camping! 

We left just before the rain :D 

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