Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Camping in Julian - William Heise County Park

     When I first started this blog, I envisioned many more travel posts than I have written.  I love traveling, seeing new places, meeting people, usually speaking Spanish, eating yummy food and relaxing on warm beaches with cold beers.  And I know there are lots more amazing travel adventures in my future, but for the last two years, and maybe the next few, our travels are keeping us closer to home.  We have still been exploring new places and eating good food.  There has been some speaking of Spanish, but less than in the past.  And less drinking of cold beers too.

     Most of the traveling in these last few years has been camping.  I love camping, like, love, love!  I have been camping with my family my whole life and it is something Kyle and I have been doing together pretty much since we started dating.  We may live in the city, but I am an open spaces, trees, ponds, fresh air, flowers, beaches, streams, sitting on rocks or in the dirt, easy hiking kind of girl.  I do not need to backpack to the top of the highest mountain (done it, contemplated trying to get med-evac'ed - true story!)  But I do need to get out of the city, shut off my phone, play with the people I love, and breathe.

    In the 4 1/2 years we have lived in San Diego we have camped in a few different spots.  Laguna Mountain a few times, and most recently when Annie was only 4 months old.

    Near Idyllwild with friends the first summer we lived here.  How did I not take any pictures here?

     Palomar mountain twice, once when there was ice on the ground and we had the campsite to ourselves.  Once when it was hot and crowded and 6 month old Annie cried the whole night.  Sorry again, campground neighbors.

    Near San Gorgonio with friends when we first told them all I was pregnant.

    In the snow in Mammoth on Memorial Day.  I kept whispering to Kyle - "we can pack up and go home anytime, just so you know".  But that hike, in the snow, to the gorgeous frozen pond, Buddy's last hike and maybe happiest day of his life, made it so worth the cold.

    Outside of Bishop and outside of Yosemite on our way to Lake Tahoe.

    And most recently, this past weekend to a campsite just outside of Julian.  For those who don't live near here, Julian is a tiny mountain town known for its apple pie.  They have at least 4 pie shops in the 3 blocks of town and sell apple pie all year round.  You can buy a whole pie, or just get a warm slice with ice cream, cinnamon ice cream.  How awesome a town is this?  And all this time living here, only 1 hour away, and we had never been.  And then a few weeks ago, right after we sold our warm and easy to set up, but tiny 3 person backpacking tent and bought a huge 6 person tent, and have been wishing and planning and talking pretty much all the time about camping, I read a blog post.  Shocking! Ha! I read too many of those every day!  But this post was different.  It was about camping.  Family camping.  Family camping with pets!  And it talked about this beautiful campground, pet friendly, family friendly, full of hiking trails, only one hour from San Diego… and right outside of Julian!  Perfect! Read her (much more concise) post here!

William Heise County Park - Go there!

    It was hot and dry, but come on, it is mid July in San Diego, two years in to a pretty serious drought, we knew what we were getting in to.  The campsites were big, ours (site 91) had shade at all times of day, and no close neighbors.  It wasn't a huge hike to the bathrooms, but no one was walking through or past our site to get there.  There was a water spigot two sites down.  The dogs had lots of space to explore.  We were right across from the trailhead.   And one of my favorite parts - our whole loop was tent only, no RVs! Amazing! And the entire campsite was no generators.  Double amazing!  There was also a playground by the campground entrance.  But in case you are someone who is delirious from pie and ice cream like we were when arriving and don't notice how far it is from the entrance to your site, it is far!  We decided to take a quick walk down before going on a hike, and let me just say, after walking back up that enormous hill, we did not go on a hike!

 So here it is in a more logical sequence, our quick weekend in Julian!

Pie, ice cream and a fruitless attempt to buy Annie a sun hat in town.  Someone forgot to pack hers.

Playing at the campsite.

Exploring the trails.

She speaks for the trees!
And the trees want you to know she is a little sad after Lacey
helped her hit her head on the pavement.  

Recovering from all that hard hiking!

Discovering gorp and M&Ms.  Don't worry, I have bleach.

Obsessively playing in the car.

Dinner.  We love cooking good food while camping.  It is one of our favorite activities.  This trip dinner was mac and cheese, and chicken, mushroom, zucchini, bell pepper and onion skewers.  I cut, marinaded (olive oil, soy sauce, peanut sauce, sriracha) and skewered everything at home, threw them in a foil covered pan, and threw that in the cooler.  Okay, okay, carefully placed so it wouldn't spill.  We wanted delicious, and something we could feel pretty confident that Annie would actually eat, but not too time consuming or tricky.  This was the first camping with Annie in about a year, and we weren't exactly sure how it was going to go.

Her first ever s'mores.  She did not like the sticky fingers.  Poor, poor mama had to clean them off for her.  Its never too early to get the head lamps ready.

Rinse all the yucky goodness out of your mouth!

Milk, snuggles, songs and bedtime.  All went well until about 1:30am when she woke up and realized we were all in the tent together.  This was obviously worthy of some celebration.  A long ergo walk, another cup of milk, a pretty serious sleeper hold and several rounds of Baby Beluga finally got her back to sleep about 2 hours later.  Not the best, not the worst.

Amazing morning expedition outfit.

Breakfast.  Again, we really get behind cooking and eating while camping (like we don't the rest of the time, ha!)  Breakfast burritos are a favorite.  If you have lots of people, are staying several days, are somewhere cold or just feel like making a fire in the morning, we learned a great breakfast burrito trick from our friends Mo and Gabe on our first Southern California camping trip.  Make a fire, make a bowl out of tinfoil, fill with raw, beaten eggs, cheese and all your other yummy burrito fillings, fold up that foil tight, and throw it in the fire!  Every once in a while peak inside.  As soon as the eggs are done, open it up, plop it in a tortilla and you are done.  It was not cold, and we did not feel like making a fire, so camping stove it was.  Eggs, bacon, avo and tortillas that may have been heated up in a little of the leftover bacon grease.  mmmmmm.

Monumental voyage to the playground.

More gorp, selfies, pregnancy announcement family photo session and packing up.

Annie gets to nap in the car.  Mom and Dad are tired, but happy, all afternoon.  And we just kept pretending we were still camping.  Hot dogs for lunch (and a beer for Dad.)  More gorp, and lots of playing in the car in the backyard.

We wish we had had more patience/ done some better planning and been able to get a spot for two nights.  We probably would have made it on an actual hike.  The beginning of the trail and the views from it were gorgeous.  I totally recommend this campsite for any San Diego friends wanting a quick get away.  You will have to let us know how the hiking trails are!

Did we miss any great camping spots in Southern California?  What are some of your favorites?

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