When city life gets too much for us and we find ourselves fractious and irritable, we pack up our camper van and set off into the wild. We have found so many beautiful, out-of-the-way places in Southern California… some as close to us as only an hour away.
This time, we tried a new camping spot, Wheeler Gorge, near Ojai, CA. It was a 3 hour drive in Friday Los Angeles traffic but, as soon as we left the freeway and started winding our way into the Los Padres National Forest, our spirits started to soar and our tensions began to float away.
We found ourselves in a lovely large and secluded camping spot, shady under great California Live Oaks.
We love traveling in our camper van as there is not much setting up when we get there and, the moment we arrive, we can pull out our camping chairs, start to chop some firewood and start feeling free.
We learned and experienced so many amazing things.
We woke up at 2am on the first night and went out to see the stars. The sky was AMAZING. The gorge is far enough away from city lights that thousands of stars pepper the dark. My kids had never seen anything quite so spectacular. And, to top it off, Kitty saw her first shooting star.
On the second night, Teddy and Kitty got their various lanterns and torches to work (it was quite a job locating where I had packed the batteries… I pack too well, it seems). They enjoyed exploring the campsite with their beams of light and discovered that the dirt was teeming with NOCTURNAL ants. I was skeptical when they implored me to come and see but was AMAZED to find that there were thousands of big black ants all around where there had been none only hours before. I’m glad they were nocturnal!
Our campsite was near a running, knee-deep stream, full of tadpoles and dragonflies. The children spent hours playing, catching, building, racing and floating in the water.
We went on beautiful hikes through the forested gorge.
In our quite times, Kitty and I listened to our stories with our earphones. Teddy played with his cars and rode around the quite camp on his bike. My Good Man unwound in his chair and let the forest air engulf him.
We roasted marshmallows, of course… and ate s’mores too.
Poison Oak : leaves of three, leave them be. Don’t be afraid of Poison Oak… kids can be trusted to identify it and stay away from it.
Camping is so magical for us. None of us can wait until we can set off again.
Blessings and magic,