How to find the best campsite.

It’s Labor Day weekend and we decide nothing is better then hitting the road and slowing down to get outside. We had no exact plans. We had no reservations, we just knew we wanted to head up the mountains to somewhere near Big Bear Lake. We were having tall forest trees and crisp cool breeze withdraws after our Colorado trip in July and with San Diego not dropping below 95 degrees in weeks.

We found the dirt forest road we had seen on Google Maps on the mountain peaks close to Big Bear Lake. With it being holiday weekend, you’re never sure if even the boon docking land will be open. There were many families, vanagons, and hammocks sprinkled through the trees, so we kept driving the road at sunset. We knew we were running out of light, but with the roof top tent, there was little set up. We had time to find the perfect place, and sometimes you don’t find it easily. It takes patience and a willingness to take the winding roads.

We pulled around one more bend and saw a plateau with boulders surrounded by those tall pine trees we had been waiting to see. We popped our Jeep into 4 wheel drive and headed out on the new trail. This was our spot.

He backs in. I check if it’s level and find small rocks to pull up on to balance it out. We each have our jobs. He pulls the straps on the tent, while I use my little fingers along the zipper to keep it from snagging the fabric. In 7 minutes, we were set and ready to cook dinner. We could hear the wind whipping in the trees and we could feel the hints that fall is not far away and summer is slowly fading.

We fell asleep to starry skies in our cozy tent with our pup beside us. I try to cling to these memories as tight as I can so they can never fade away.

The best campsites are the ones that make you feel at home. You watch yourself look around and notice every bit. The ways the leaves are slowly changing colors or maybe the way you notice maybe you’re changing a little too and that’s okay. You notice the way he laughs while chasing Kai around the trees. You notice the way the steam on your coffee swirls with the wind. You notice the wind and the stars and you feel peace. You grab all of these bits you notice and you stash them away forever.

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