Tagged: camping

Mt. Shasta

Over the labor day weekend, I had gone to Mt. Shasta for a 2 day camping/hiking trip. Well, technically we weren’t really at Mt. Shasta itself — we camped at Castle Craig’s campgroup which is around half way between Mt. Shasta and Lake Shashta.

We started off quite late on friday evening (around 7-8) and we took our time getting there — making some nice long breaks in between, having fun eating at Denny’s, hunting down coffee at starbucks and generally just having fun. So it took us almost 5 hours to get there (which means we reached there in the dead of the night at around 2 am).

It was a bit of a challenge to set up tents at 3 in the morning with just flashlights to go by and without waking anyone else up, but fortunately we managed it. By the time we got into our sleeping bags, it was almost 4:30. Naturally we got up late as well.

After lazying around a bit and having had a hearty breakfast, we set out for our first hike. There was some argument over wether we should do the hardest trail first (it was very very hot that afternoon, and it was already past noon) or the easy trails on saturday and do the hard one early sunday morning. After much debate, we decided to just get over with the strenuous trail first.

And boy, what a trail it was! PSD, Asim and I were at the head of the pack. Reaching the peak of Craig’s Dome almost took forever. Though the trail itself is small distance wise (around 3 miles one way), the elevation it climbs is not (2200 ft). It took us almost 3 hrs to get to the top. But it was worth it.

The views were awesome. We had a fun time talking about a whole bunch of things on our way up there. I found a suweet spot to sit on (a wide ledge on one of the rocks overlooking the valley) and then we waited for the everyone else to catch up. After an hours break, we began our descent.

The downward journey was easier, but irritating simply because it was so much effort to maintain control and keep ourselves from running downhill. Eventually we did reach the bottom. Went back to the campsite and cooked up a hearty dinner.

The next morning we woke up (relatively) early. After a short hike by the sacramento river, it was decided that we would drop Lassen in favor of a drive to Mt. Shasta. So after a light brunch, we drove upto Mt. Shasta, enjoyed the views for some time, and then started our journey back home.

We reached back around midnight on Sunday. It was a fun trip. But settling accounts on this trip is going to be a major PITA because of the REI screw up. Ah well.


Big Basin

I had a great this time weekend hiking/camping. There were 6 of us: moi, [[http://www.crhc.uiuc.edu/~gaonkar/|Shravan]], [[http://www.cs.duke.edu/~grit/|Laura]], Yin, Ginger and Ryan.

We left Friday evening and camped out at [[http://employeeprograms.hp.com/little-basin/|Little Basin]]. My camping experience this time was much better than the last—the camp site was much more like the traditional camping ground I had in mind, there weren’t too many people around, the jungle was lush and dense, the weather was nice, it wasn’t hot or dry and we even had an interesting incident with a racoon!

I also learnt a lot about traditional camping practices here in the US—like s’mores or the common breakfast and lunches people have, or quickly setting up a tent and so on.

On Saturday we drove to the [[http://www.bigbasin.org/|Big Basin State Park]] and hiked on an eight mile trail (actually we looped across walking on one trail the first half and coming back through a second one on the latter half). There were some nice waterfalls on the way, and we had a good time walking and talking and lunching together.

Camping adventure

Sunday morning again started off late; we had dozed off watching Hera Phari the previous night, and camping was the only major agenda so no one was in a rush. Till about 12 noon, everyone was kind of in “okay, lets get ready” mode but no one was really doing anything to accomplish that goal! :D

Finally when the time came to actually make the move, things got rushed up a bit — there was complete chaos all around, and we had a hard time making sure that we had indeed packed up everything we needed. We had already done most of the camping shopping the previous night from Ralphs (including firewood, matchsticks, tissue, flashlights and batteries etc). There were a few more things we needed to pick up before leaving so we went to Trader’s Joe and Ralphs again.

We finally got moving on at around 2:30 or so. The camping site at lake Morena (near Mt. Laguna) is about 63 miles south east of San Diego. The weather was nice and sunny, though a bit warm for my taste. The journey was mostly uneventful. As we approached the camping site, it became clear that it wouldn’t be all that we had expected — for most part, the Lake had dried up, leaving behind a small pond of sorts. The camping grounds were hot and dry and the soil was coming loose in places; the trees and brush were all thorny and dried up — in general the feeling was arid.

But we weren’t put off by all that since it was our first camping experience. It was a bit disappointing to see so many people though — the camp was especially full because of 4th of july weekend, and I was expecting that each campsite will be kind of isolated from other campsites. Basically we were missing that “in the wild” feeling since civilization was all around us! Setting up the tent was a challenge in itself, and it was really cool to see it when we were finally done.

After that, we headed off towards our first hike towards the lake. The area around the lake was almost quick-sandish and we had a bit of fun playing frisbee around there. PSD had set up the next “lakshya” to be a hill top on the other side of the camp, so we set out for that one after we were done with the lake. Unfortunately, that hike proved not to be so easy since there wasn’t a proper trail and we had to make our way around boulders and thorny bushes. We didn’t make it to the top, but we did reach a place with a view and made a halt there.

By the time we got back it was almost 8. After cleaning ourselves up, we started making preparations for dinner. It was a bit weird since everyone around us was already done with dinner and people were settling down around their fires for story telling kind of things. And there we were, firing off whistle after whistle from our pressure cooker! It was awkward and funny at the same time, and I was a bit nervous that some ranger would come and shoo us off the camping grounds for making so much noise! :D

Anyhow, things went pretty well. The pakoras didn’t come out as well as we had expected, but the dal makhani and aloo gobhi turned out to be darned good, and we ate our hearts fill. The sabzi took an unexpectedly long time to cook though, and by the time we cleaned up it was almost 11. All the lights on the camping grounds had been turned down, so we took a walk in the moonlight — that was really great.

The plan for UNO was abandoned in favor of a late night gulla session. But it was mostly PSD and myself talking; RJ was in his “listening” mode and Asim was in some “contemplate/quiet” mode. We did have some interesting discussions though, and when we finally tucked into bed, it was almost 3 in the morning. There was unanimous consensus that we had a great time in camping and that we should do this more often. Next time around, though, I’m going to find a more lush, green and quiet camping site :)