23 March 2014

2 Days Camping Trip on Palomar Mountain SP

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The 11th of March is Brennan's birthday, to fulfill one of his his wishes, we decided to go on a camping trip this this weekend. The campsite we were going is Palomar Mountain State Park which is about 5000 feet high above sea level, it would be really cold up there, so I packed my "Coat for South Dakota" with me. I guess this was the only time I really use this coat after moving to California. Since Elisa might be too young to go, only Jason, boys and one of the friend of Brennan called Ethan R. (and his dad as well) are going. I leaves school earlier than usual because we wanted to get there before the sun goes down. After a quick run home to take my coat and clothes, we started heading to Palomar Mountain State Park. Driving from home to Palomar Mountain takes about one and half hour, we took two trucks and uses walkie talkie to communicate.

Our campground.

On the way to Palomar Mountain, we went past the country side of San Diego. I saw many "California-style" farms, houses, and even "Roadside fruits stalls" just like in the movies, I love them so much. I also some casinos, technically they are not allowed in California, but they are allowed on "Indian reservations" in California. One of the casinos is called Harrah's Resort Southern California, it is just like the casino in Las Vegas; tall buildings, pools, but in the middle of nowhere. It is pretty funny. The road going on Palomar Mountain is very "loopy", there are lots of sharp turns on the road, it is the perfect road for motorcycle riders, but definitely not for trucks, I was not feeling very good on it.

On the way to Palomar Mountain, I saw country side of California. See the horses?

Very beautiful!

The road going on Palomar Mountain is very "loopy", there are lots of sharp turns on the road.

The entrance of Palomar Mountain State Park.

Finally, we arrived the entrance of the park. The weather on the mountain has a lot difference from where we were from. It was very cold up there. After checking in to the park and found the correct campground, we parked the trucks and started to unload stuffs. The very first thing I did after getting off from the vehicle is to put my coat on, and so do Jason and boys, we were all feeling cold!! We then started to light up the campfire using the branches we picked up and the woods we brought, it was kinda hard to make a fire at first, but after it was successfully lighted, it definitely warmed us up.

Our campground.

In the middle of mountain.

Looking down from our campground.

Preparing stuffs.

After the campfire was set up, we started to assemble the tent. Since I have learned how to do it and did assembled it once at school, it is not a hard job to me, and of course I helped building ours. There are totally 2 tents would be on our campground, one is a 10x10 6-people-tent, the other is a regular 4 people tent. Although we have the 6-people tent, Jason still decided to sleep in the truck since he wanted us to have the best experience and not have to scramble for sleeping space the whole night. He was really nice.

The tent before it was set up.

Assembling tent.

Lighting fire!

It seems like everything was set up!

Brennan // Ethan R. // Ethan B.

After everything was set up, it was almost time for dinner. While Jason and Mr. Aron were preparing for dinner, boys went into the mountain and started their "adventure," and they brought their walkie talkie so they can keep in touch with us. There are a hill going into the mountain just next to our campground, we don't even need to go on a path or something, all we have to do is to walk down. That is the place where we have fun playing bow and arrow, slingshot, and it's where we started our hiking on second day morning.

The hill next to our campground.

Looking up from our campground.

Our campground.

It's warm around the campfire!

Around our campground. 

The public restroom.

Boys were going on a "adventure" in the mountains!

We have some taco meats and beans and chips we brought from home for dinner. Everything taste so good when you are hungry!!! We used the camp grill that Jason just bought on Amazon to heat foods up, it takes more time than usual since we were on the mountain that is 5000 feet above sea level. Haha We all sat around the campfire having dinner and chatting, although the weather was really cold that we have to sit very near the fire to get warm, we still had lots of fun chatting.

New camp grill Jason just bought from Amazon.

 Taco meats and beans.


We just kinda chill and have fun after dinner, some people went down the hill and play, some people still sat around the fire and stay warm. Definitely I did both, I played some games with boys, but I also enjoy just sitting next to the fire. The sky got dark very quickly in the mountain, we could only barely see things after 7 pm, so we all got back around the campfire again and started talking story. Jason was trying to tell a scary story while Brennan persist to tell "Mario story" and Ethan kept saying things about "Star Wars", "Honest Trailer" or "Monster University", well, as you can tell easily, kids love what they love. Haha. One must-have snack while (American are) picnicking or camping is S’more, according to Wikipedia, it is a traditional night time campfire treat popular in the United States and Canada, consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. Yeah, not only toasted marshmallow, but with chocolate and graham cracker!! We of course had some S’more, I loved them soooo much! Why can't we have it everyday?

Boys were having fun after dinner.

Me. Haha

It was getting really dark!

S'more! It was fantastic!

After lots of chatting, younger kids like Brennan and his friend Ethan R. were feeling tired, so they decided to go back to tent and sleep. But of course I was not tired at all (I don't sleep at 8), Jason, Ethan, Ethan R.'s dad and I was still sitting around the campfire and chatting. Beside chatting, I also enjoy to sit back and look at thousands of stars in the sky, they are so beautiful! We went to bed at about 10 o'clock, but one of the families near our campground was definitely not tired since they were still talking loudly, playing guitar and singing.

Late, late night.

The campfire. This picture looks really weird since the White Balance on my phone camera has some damn problems. :( 

Although I had sleeping bag and everything I need, I actually still didn't feel very comfortable sleeping because it was really cold and I was not sleeping on a flat ground. The place where my sleeping bag was were not horizontal, so I have to try to keep myself in the same place and not rolling down, or I might disturb Ethan. But anyway, it was still a cool experience to really sleep in a sleeping bag in a tent in the mountain! Haha.

I woke up many times during night, but the time I really woke up and not going back to bed was at 6:30 am while boys were waking up. Although I would like to sleep in a little bit like Jason and Ethan R.'s dad did, I still woke up since this was the last day in mountain, I wanted to spend more time to enjoy it. The adults were awake at about 7:00 am, the first thing they do was to light the campfire back on, without a campfire, we would be freezing! Jason then started to make breakfasts for us, we had a pretty fancy breakfast, including hash browns, sausages, and eggs. It was especially yummy when you are feeling cold in a mountain where you can get nothing.

Good morning!

Lighting fire!

Getting warm!

Jason was making breakfast for us.

Hash browns and sausage.

Ethan R. and me.

Our tent. I was sleeping on the very right side (as you can see).

After breakfast, it's time to do "the thing" that boys kept talking about. "The thing" was to go hiking. As a "tech-guy," I don't really like hiking, but I still went with them since this might be my only chance to hike in America's mountain (sounds weird but it's true). 2 hours later, I couldn't believe that I hiked at least 5 miles (8 km)! We started from our campground and ended back in our campground. Unlike mountain paths in Taiwan, there were literally no physical path that we can follow in the mountain here while there were only some signs telling us which way to go, we were just like hiking without purpose! But we still got back safely, anyway! I felt really tired since we walked at least 5 miles, but I actually enjoyed it, the view was fantastic, and the weather was very good as well (just a little bit cold, but okay). I took some pictures when we were hiking, please take a look:

Going hiking!

In the mountains.


Me again.

The view was fabulous!

Watch out for mountain lions!

Ethan R. // me // Brennan // Ethan B.

Gorgeous view! 

Really beautiful, isn't it!

Yep! We got back!

We had sandwiches, chips and fruits as our lunch after getting back from hiking. As I said, everything taste awesome while I am tired! Haha. We then drove back home and arrived at about 2 pm. This camping trip was very cool and it's definitely unforgettable! By the way, I feels like sleeping in the haven when I finally got home and got a chance to sleep on my bed! :)


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