I returned a few days ago from Great Basin National Park (see Trip Reviews). It was awesome and I have decided to return there, in August with my daughter, Lilly. One of the major reasons it was so fantastic is because it is uncrowded. I can remember camping as a child and feeling like I was getting away from it all. Now, a visit to Yosemite makes you feel like you've been at Disneyland all damn day with the hordes of humanity who descend on the place.
More people than ever are camping. This is great except that there are no new campgrounds opening and, in fact, because of budget cuts (for everything except war), there are fewer campgrounds. The last trip to the local San Jacintos brought home this glaring reality as, after an 8 mile trip on a fairly rough dirt road, the campground was full. Moreover, the neighbors in the adjacent campsite were astonishingly loud and drunk and obnoxious. I had to give them my old principal's voice and say, "Please turn the music down! Thank you!".
This is a huge problem for those of us who look to nature as our solace and comfort.
I've decided, in the next few years, to do what I can to get the appropriate agencies to develop more campgrounds. In order to do this, of course, we must protect more public land. Further, I am working on a book about camping in the new era of crowds- emphasizing camping etiquette. A perfect project for a grumpy old man.
This next month takes Lupe and Lilly and I to crowded Point Mugu, crowded Pismo Beach and crowded Morro Bay. While I'm looking forward to these trips I also look forward to the off season when the calm returns.
It's that time of year when an old Cactus Man's fancy turns from the desert to the mountains and sea.
I have been trip planning for the last week while homebound. Lupe and I have had some domestic issues like painting and appliance repair to deal with (I swear it feels like these damn things are never done). As a result, I have nearly finished my trip plans for the next few months. In addition, Lupe and I are looking at the possible purchase of a very small, affordable, versatile, high ground clearance travel trailer. I need something that is homey enough for Lupe but I can take on my beloved dirt roads. While I love my current setup with just the camper shell I must admit it would be nice to have a place to hole up in bad weather. Anyway, we're not looking for something that resembles our home in any manner (why not just stay at home or in a motel then?). We want a tiny hideaway to take us away to private and secluded spots as well as the National Parks. The research continues...
In June- next week in fact, my son Kevin and I are headed to Boulder Basin in the San Jacinto mountains for a couple of days. I've been trying to get him to go camping with me for a few years now and I'm really looking forward to it. From there he'll go back to work (poor bastard) and I'll head to Nevada and Great Basin National Park. It's my first visit there and it is one of the lesser known National Parks- which is right up my misanthropic alley.
Then it's time for Lupe and Lilly! At the beginning of July Lupe and I are going to Point Mugu and camp right on the beach. Then, at the end of July she and Lilly and I are going to Jalama Beach and Pismo Beach. We'll spend a night in a motel in Morro Bay to wrap up (love that sleepy little town).
In August I'm headed back to the Southwest for a trip to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. I've been to the south rim probably 10 times but I don't usually head there in summer when the north rim is free of snow and open. I will probably camp a night or two at nearby Jacob Lake and look for future boondocking spots. At the end of the month and just before Lilly starts high school (Good God!) I'm taking her to one of my favorite spots in this lifetime - Lassen Volcanic National Park. I know it so well I can show her around! As she grows older these chances will be come fewer and fewer (see Jordan and Kevin) and I will cherish this time together. It will be an unforgettable trip.
My next BIG trip is in my favorite month to travel - September. I'll be heading to Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming and the Little Big Horn Battlefield in Montana. You've probably figured out my appreciation of and fascination with the indigenous people of our continent and this trip will focus heavily on Native American history and culture.
In October I'm heading back to Big Sur area to stay at Kirk Creek Campground and boondock in the mountains that overlook the sea, I'm gonna squeeze in a weekend back at Pinnacles National Park with my dear Bay Area family.
November brings me back to the desert...
I'll look forward to showing my pictures and narrating the trips as I return from each one.
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.