June 19, 2013

Camping with the family

by Shelly

Last weekend we whisked away the Mr. for a little Father’s Day R & R in the mountains.  No cell phone service, no electronic equipment…just us and nature.  It had been about five years since our last camping experience and we were all anxious to try it out again.  We had gone three times before Ellie was about two years old, but every time it was a bit of a disaster…..wind storms twice and sweltering heat with no shade one other time.  So we had sort of curbed the whole camping thing for a while.

Ellie is now at a great age where she isn’t so dependent on us, she’s very into being an explorer and is quite the little helper when we need her to be. That combined with the fact that we are still in super budget mode (which means cheap vacas for a while)…camping just seemed like the perfect family trip!  We decided to check out Sequoia National Park which is known for it’s beautiful scenery and giant…I mean GIANT sequoia trees. They really are pretty spectacular!


Since we were headed there without a camping spot reservation, we knew that finding one might be difficult. Once we drove the 4 1/2 hours from North Orange County to the entrance to the park, we knew driving another two hours up into the big tree forest to camp wasn’t an option.  It was getting late and we still had not eaten dinner.  So we opted to stay in the foothill region of the park at Buckeye Flat Campground.  It actually turned out to be a beautiful little spot that is situated right next to the middle fork of the Kaweah River.

{kaweah river with mt.whitney peaking over the ridge}

Ellie thoroughly enjoyed herself!  She loved the whole sleeping in a tent experience and she thought it was a total blast cooking our meals outdoors on the propane stove and over the fire.  If anything the enthusiasm we saw from her made the whole trip worth while!  She is definitely a nature girl and we never would have realized it if it were not for this trip.

{ellie the first morning looking happy as a clam}

{cooking outdoors was one of her favs}

This particular campground did not have showers, but we drove up to another campground one day and took a shower for $3. Money well spent!  The other days, we all opted to bathe in the river.  Honestly, it was a wonderful, refreshing experience. You can’t beat soaping up your hair while gazing at Mt. Whitney! It was beyond beautiful.

{hiking to our bathing hole. my nephew and his fiance also camped with us.}

We are already planning our next camping trip since this one was such a success!  And let me just say friends….I am NOT a total outdoorsy girl. I’m pretty girly to say the least.  I still managed to wear a bit of makeup each day…lipbalm and a bit of my CC cream, last seen here.  And a cute trucker hat or a head scarf hides bad hair for sure!  Below are a few items that make the whole camping experience much more enjoyable for me.


1. I may be camping, but a cute table is still important to me.  Retro and bright are a fun way to dine alfresco!

bamboo flatware

melamine plates

enamel cups

oilcloth tablecloth

2. In the evening there is lots of sitting around the fire time. A comfy chair is imperative and this one is cool because you can set a drink or a plate down as well.

camp chair

3. Bugs really, really like me. It may just be all the red wine I like to consume. Haha!  But seriously, this lantern is fabulous for keeping away the bugs and shedding some light on your campsite.

citronella lantern

4.  Cooking in the dark or even at dusk can be challenging to do.  I have found that a headlamp is perfect for this situation.

head lamp

5.  Bottles are not exactly ideal when camping.  So I usually seek out good ol’ box wine, so that nothing breaks.  This wine is definitely a step up (a few steps actually) from the low grade stuff we usually drink while camping.


6. Truth be told, I don’t own this. BUT I will soon!  I think this little piece of equipment is just perfect for keeping the cooking off the main picnic table.  It just keeps all your cooking stuff in one convenient place. No more slouching over to sift through our big plastic storage box of cooking stuff.

camp kitchen


So, do you and your family like to camp? What are your must haves? And where do you like to go? I would love to get suggestions on both of these since this is quickly becoming our fav new hobby!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jennifer L June 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm

What a fun recap! We love the Mammoth area!


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