What I’m most looking forward to in the coming year is camping, watching her grow and bloom, surrounded by the safe and loving hands of Mother Nature. I can’t wait to see what treasures and travels await us in 2014 and I can’t wait to share them with you!
We’re baaaaaack! Fully recharged, feeling rejuvenated and reconnected to this beautiful world we are blessed to call home. There’s something about being 6,700 feet up in the High Sierras that lifts my soul up, reminding me of just how grateful I am to have what I have and to do what I do and to be who I am, evolving and growing and mastering my awareness that I am always changing.
|Basking in the beauty of the Kaweah River Falls!|
As is necessary when camping in Sequoia National Park during the summer months, we made our Lodgepole Campground reservations back in mid January and eagerly counted down the days. All One Hundred & Eighty of them! Fortunately, we had also planned a late spring camping trip to Big Sur as well, so we were able to bridge the seemingly infinite gap between trips.
This marked our third trip to the high Sierras and we enjoy it a little more each time! Within minutes of entering the park’s main entrance, we were greeted by 3 deer crossing the canyon floor. Early the next morning we were treated to another deer having breakfast 10 feet from our campsite!
Then, we all watched in amazement as a gorgeous brown bear made it’s way across the rocky creek bed a mere 100 yards from our tents! We were all so caught up in the awe of the moment that none of even thought to grab our cameras, but when the momma bear showed up later to fish in the creek with her cubs, thank goodness Uncle Joey snapped some pictures!
|Mama Bear with her Cub (Can you spot her cub?)|
We walked the land that John Muir fought so passionately to preserve so that we could all drink the deep breath of its wild air. “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees. The wind will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves,” he said and we did.
|Snack Break on the Tokopah Falls Trail|
The more we camp with our toddler (this is her 4th camping trip), the more experience we gain, the more organized and prepared we become, the more we realize that we can do this….MORE! Thanks to our much smaller and more useful tent, our meticulously packed camping bins and tons of food prepared ahead of time, we were able to spend much of our days playing, exploring, discovering and taking lots of pictures!
|Frolicking through fields of wildflowers|
|Discovering hidden creek-side beaches|
|Sketching the sweeping Sierra vistas|
|Learning how to skateboard with Uncle Joey|
|Swimming with the Trout|
On our last night, my hubby and I sat curled up next to a crackling fire, V tucked snugly into her sleeping bag, and we were already discussing how we are going to squeeze in another camping trip before the end of the summer! We can’t wait!
In a constantly evolving effort to be more efficient when on family camping trips, I decided that it was time to sit down and take inventory of what is actually in those disastrous camping bins of ours! First, I reorganized them, then I made an inventory list. I’m not a list-maker by nature (or even a frequent user of the word “inventory” for that matter), or at least I wasn’t before I became a mother (haha), but when you’re out in the middle of nowhere with a toddler, it never hurts to be extra prepared!
|Exploring the Limekiln River in Big Sur, California|
So, in anticipation of our Sequoia camping trip next month, I sat down and created a packing list for our camping bins! We have been using the bin system for a few years now. It definitely cuts down on our packing time and we are less prone to forget the little things! Most of the items in our bins are permanent bin fixtures. When we get home, they get cleaned and put back into the bin, so they are ready to go for the next trip!
Psst, want to know another way to make camping even easier?! Rent camping and backpacking gear, delivered to your door. Free shipping and returns. Full Kelty camping kits from GetOutfitted.com start at $18 per day. Doesn’t get easier than that!
Side Note: This bin list is catered to car camping where you have easy access from your tent and campsite to your car.
Camping Bin #1
This is what I lovingly refer to as the kitchen sink. It contains all of the necessities to prepare and cook our meals and a few other essentials.
- first aid kit
- 1 roll of Paper towels
- 2 rolls of toilet paper
- 3 wash cloths
- 1 pack of wipes
- aluminum foil
- salt & pepper & olive oil
- large frying pan
- (2) large pots
- 3 plates
- 3 bowls
- 3 cold cups
- 2 hot cups
- 3 forks
- 3 spoons
- serving spoons
- wine opener
- can opener
- flexible plastic cutting board
- coffee percolator
- table cloth
- garbage bags
Camping Bin #2
This holds all of the necessary tools for seeing, burning and cleaning.
- 6 propane tanks
- 2 lighters
- 2 lanterns
- 2 flashlights
- 3 headlamps
- various extra batteries
- (2) single burner stoves for boiling water, etc
- Biodegradable dishwashing soap & scouring pad
- dust pan & small broom
A must have for any camping family because even though you are out in nature with so much to discover and explore, kids still get bored. I have also found it to be comforting for our two year old to bring a few of her favorite toys along.
- Sand Toys (Buckets, Shovels, Trucks, etc)
Make Ahead Camping Meals
I also plan our meal menu ahead. I have found this to be the most economical and efficient way to do things. We used to just go the the store on our way out of town and we would end up spending TOO much and usually only use HALF of what we bought. Planning and prepping everything before we leave means, saving money, less work at the campground and more time relaxing and exploring!
|A little down time…|
I buy a box of the gallon Ziploc freezer bags and use them for all kinds of prep like marinating the meats, filling them with pre-chopped veggies to roast over the fire or make-ahead salads that only needs to be dressed when it’s time to eat. I also love to make easy-to-grab, finger food lunches like quiche and zucchini fritters, perfect to throw in the backpack and eat on the trail!
- Leeks in Olive Oil (Pirasa
- Zucchini Fritters (Mucver)
- Green Beans in Olive Oil (Zeytinagli Fasulye)
- Roasted Broccoli and Pancetta Quiche
- Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Gorgonzola
- Chicken Salad with Avocado and Cilantro
- Oatmeal Banana Bread
What are your camping bin essentials? Your must-have make-ahead meals?