coming home

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Now, instead of turning into the winding canyon as I drive home from work, I climb a small hill above the ocean. I pause at the top of the driveway to check the mail, and breathe in the briny view and the homestead below. This is where I live.

Man and dog greet me happily. He shows me the wall he’s been building, and the hummingbird nest he found. Then I go inside to start dinner while he waters the trees.

birthday camping trip

With my birthday approaching, I knew how I wanted to celebrate it: getting grubby around a campfire. So the Guy + dog & I headed for the hills inland from Santa Barbara, where we found ourselves a place by a creek in the Los Padres National Forest.

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Due to recent rain, the brook was babbling ….

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… and the wildflowers were out.

Hours were spent hiking …

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… and staring at flames.

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The weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.

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After two days, we took the high road home, scoping out possibilities for the next camping trip, which will require a 4WD. As I’ve been saying for, oh, six months now, I really do need to get myself one of them.

ok so i’m a bit stubborn

The weather people said, “Heat wave coming. Like, possibly the highest temperatures ever recorded on earth. It’s going to be really hot.”

The Guy said, “Maybe we shouldn’t go camping this weekend. It’s going to be really hot.”

His mother said, “I’m really very worried about you going camping. Not just for your sakes. For Bodie’s too. It’s going to be really hot.”

Middle Lion campground

I said, “But … but … but … I really want to go camping! It’s been two months! If we don’t go this weekend, we won’t be able to go for another month or so!” I didn’t quite stamp my foot, but maybe I did pout a little.

Lion Creek

So we went. And it was, unsurprisingly, really really hot. 108F/42C. Way too hot for a long haired dog, let alone her humans.

Hot hot Bodie

We found a lovely little primitive campground, on the banks of Lion Creek. Unfortunately, 30 cub scouts and their leaders found it too. We could deal with them OK but then a dozen or more teenage party people rocked up … and rocked on, complete with vomitous sound effects till 3 AM.

Reminded me of Jabba the Hutt
Can you see Jabba the Hutt?

I used to be a teenager. I haven’t forgotten. But I’ve always had a huge reluctance to disturb neighbours with loud noises. My muffler would have been especially active in a remote campground where others have come to escape from it all, I would think.

Not so, these yahoos.

And did I mention it was really really hot?

Lion Creek

But yeah, pretty.

I’m not sorry I went. But maybe next time there’s a Heat Emergency Advisory, I’ll postpone.

Or maybe not. Because sometimes I just really need to go camping.

camping

Desert globemallow

Charcoal kilns

Sierra Woolly Indian Paintbrush

The road to Thorndike campground

Shooting wildflowers

Kettle's on!

Mmmmm, breakfast!

Desert iguana

Trying to persuade Bodie to join me

Sycamore Trees

So much beauty. So much fun. So many cool places to return to. So many side roads yet to explore.

I fell in love with the planet all over again. And with the company.

preparing

going camping!

Me + guy + dog are going camping this weekend! We’re off to Death Valley, with loose plans to check out some of the many ghost towns in the vicinity. And cook delicious meals over open fires. And sing a lot of songs.

I can’t wait.

[My close friends (I’m looking at you, Lola & sister) will recognize my scrappy picnic blanket, now getting pretty bedraggled, but still much-loved.]

i’m not a dog person. so why am i spending so much time with a dog?

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I’m really not a dog person. I don’t want to be jumped on, licked, or humped, without invitation. Dog are smelly. They’re needy. They’re noisy. They’re chaotic and messy. They don’t bury their poop.

I’m not really into chaos, noise, mess and poop. It’s not that I’m a crazy neat freak or anything. My desk is usually somewhat messy. It’s just that dogs impose so much, you know? I have boundaries that dogs simply don’t understand or care about.

Yes, yes, I understand that dogs have their own particular joys. Just like babies (which, it must be admitted, can be far more obnoxious than dogs, and I went ahead and had THREE of them). Man’s best friend, unconditional love, keeping the coyotes at bay, whatever.

Fine for you. I’m just not a dog person.

So what would happen, hypothetically, if I were to meet and quite like a dog guy? Would I let the dog be a deal breaker? If all else were promising, I’d be nuts to let the dog decide things, right?

But what if the dog were a burly, boisterous mid-sized canine who loves to jump and lick and bark? A dog that definitely doesn’t give a fig about my boundaries?

Would I get all uptight about it? Or would my growing affection for Mr Dog Guy allow those boundaries to soften? Would I perhaps start to embrace the noise and chaos? Start to relax into the exuberance and lickiness?

Stay tuned.

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