I went to Camp Fox as a camp attendee on Catalina Island in 1994. Most recently, I was a camp counselor at the Ronald McDonald Camp for Good Times in 2007. But I've actually never been camping. Not officially at least.
So on Andy's first weekend off since he started school, we ventured up the Interstate 5 to Los Padres National Forest for a mini camping trip (he wanted to do something low-key being it was my first time ever in the woods!). We opted for a pack in, pack out car type camping which was explained to me as camping near our cars. I was a bit confused about why we needed to do that. Couldn't we just pitch a tent across our apartment in the hilly fields where the coyotes roam? He told me that wasn't camping. But we're going Friday night and leaving Saturday noonish? Camping was already sounding a bit fishy. Andy was so excited, like a little boy who is getting ready to see a real live train.
We got all our gear ready - a tent, an air mattress, a cooler filled with ice, water, salsa, foil wrapped veggies, potatoes, chicken, scallops, cream of mushroom and salt and pepper (thanks Dennis!), Cactus Cooler and Hawaiian bread, lime tostitos, Vanilla wafers, leftover Panera chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows, a lantern, pillows, blankets, a suitcase, chairs and a mallow - and into the car it all went. It must have taken us three trips but at least we learned an important lesson for future camping trips- some additional time on the packing side might help for the loading and unloading side.
We arrived around 6:30 PM after a 1.5 hour drive and upon entering the parking lot, we saw at least a dozen telescopes, all ranging in size, some as big as 15 feet! We knew there would be a lot of people there with telescopes because Andy had spoken with the Park Ranger beforehand and knew the spot would be popular due to the new moon and the camping spot coined as one of the best star gazing spots in all of California!
We went off in search of a camp spot but noticed most spots were taken and a bunch of grown up men and women, dressed in medieval attire were hanging out. We asked one of the guys walking with caution tape whether there were more camping spots further along the path and got to talking with him. Turns out, there were three teams of people all here for a medieval reenactment battle Saturday morning! They used weapons that were lined with cushioning, but it was such a sight. I didn't get any photos of them but it wasn't anything abnormal, we all do it but we call it Halloween or themed parties. Hehe.
I won't get into the minute details of how fun setting up the tent was, enjoying the beautiful scenery, watching Toy Story 2 in our tent, or the hike loop that we were unsure of but kept going along... but I will say I married a manly man because he cut our wood from a tree branch near by (see photo insert below). And... that the nighttime star gazing was amazing! The sky was adorned with tiny specks, each blinking, each different in brightness, each so high up in the sky. You could see the sky bending in the corners as if we were in a planetarium and it was absolutely breathtaking. We went to hang out with the amateur telescope guys and were able to look back into time at stars that had exploded and the masses that were still there. It just testified to me of how massive the universe is and how little we may be in the grand scheme of things but that Heavenly Father knows all of us by name. That is how amazing He is. And though we're just mere specks, we're specks by name.