Until I was about 28, I’d never been west of the Mississippi. I was (and in many ways still am!) a small-town, east-coast girl who was rather happy being close to home. That year a friend invited me to join her car-camping on her dream trip touring national parks in the west. I was in.
She had a few caveats: “I don’t use my car’s air conditioning, I don’t sleep in the car, I’m deathly afraid of bears and I need a motel room and shower about once a week.” I was still in.
We decided on our route by unfolding a huge map of the United States and tagging the places we’d each really like to go with one color post-its and places we’d like to go with another. Each of us gave up a few really like to go places in order to make the trip work in about four weeks.
Of the fifteen national parks and monuments we visited, in the end I preferred the forested ones and my friend preferred the desert. She desperately wanted to go back to Utah and I wanted to go back to California. Someday I will hike the John Muir trail – hopefully with Eliot, now 5 – and get lost in the mountains by Tuolumne Meadows where we stayed one night. I nearly cried when we left that area.
But the one place I desperately want to take my family to is Sequoia. There is magic in that place.
And so I will!
Officially this week, Camp Stevens has secured a reservation at Camp San Juaquin for our longstanding Sequoia Family Camp! My family and I will be a part of the community of what I hope to be 50 or so folks in the mountains exploring, playing, eating, singing and otherwise standing gape-jawed at the majesty of the trees.
For more information, check out our website, which will have even more information soon. Whether you’ve been a dozen times before, are looking for an alternative to Disney, or just need something new at Camp Stevens, I hope you’ll join us!
And in case you’re wondering … We did use the air conditioning in the end, but only after we drove through Death Valley and Las Vegas in July without it. My friend did sleep in the car to avoid sleeping in a tent in the Tetons where there are bears – a brave gesture I am still grateful for – although our closest bear encounter occurred at the backpacking camp in Yosemite Valley. And we did get a motel room and a restaurant fix about once a week when we had our weekly fill of pizza and cold beer.
Whim: “sudden idea.” This weekly-ish post promises a number of things: personal thoughts and reflections, showing off Camp Stevens’ programs and staff, announcements for upcoming opportunities, and answering questions or responding to comments “from the audience.” If you have a topic or question you’d like addressed, just e-mail Beth!