Thursday, May 26, 2011

Camping in the Sky



There are endless ways to escape. Into a good book, into a museum, into romance. Sometimes, though, it feels good just to get away. It's often the case that escape is best when done in the lap of luxury - a hotel stay (terrycloth robes and slippers), lounging poolside (drink in hand, red nail polish on toes), dinner reservations booked (or room service, depending on how decadent you really want to be). After a long work week/month/year, how could this not appeal?

But what if luxury's not what you're after? Escape can be synonymous with "being at one with nature" or "off the grid" or even "getting your hands a little dirty." To accomplish such ways of being, it's time to head straight into the woods for the classic, old-fashioned camping trip. Now, booking a campsite isn't as challenging as, say, getting a reservation at Per Se, but it's definitely something to plan in advance - especially with summer approaching, these sites get swooped up fast!

So, a few months ago when I got wind of Half Dome reservations selling out in a matter of minutes, I got serious in regards to my future with camping. After weighing my options, I decided on Point Reyes National Seashore, for a weekend in the woods. Luckily, Sky Camp had a few spots left. Low and behold, last weekend my friend Sarah and I found ourselves in the magical heart of the seashore. Of course, we couldn't venture out into the wild without first demolishing a hearty breakfast at the Pine Cone Diner in Point Reyes Station:



After picking up our permit, we were Sky bound! Our hike to the campsite was just over a mile and a half. It doesn't take long to feel distant from civilization. The trail is quiet, innocent and open - a mirror of sorts, reflecting the clean slate that's always inside of us. An open road that's available to us, so long as we don't take advantage of it. Suddenly, upon the trail, the car getting smaller and smaller, you get the overarching sense that the world you left behind is happening without you - and that's just fine.



Once we made it to Sky Camp (site #5), we promptly set up our home away from home: the Tadpole.



p.s. easiest 2-person back-packing tent to set-up ever. It's North Face, in case you're interested...and R.E.I. is currently having their biggest sale of the year...



Our site was just up that little trail, nestled among the trees on the right. Cozy! It's so easy to feel at home among the flowers and the trees.



Lush and green, Point Reyes was still blooming with bright colors and earthy life.





We very quickly set off for our day hike to the beach. There and back it was about 9 miles, because we took a little detour (veering from the trail). Getting lost is part of the fun though - and to be honest, how lost can you get when the ocean's on your west. We meandered, gladly.



Lost and found!



This tree spoke to both of us as we approached the seashore, where we would read books, eat sandwiches and collect rocks. Oh, and yes, get caught in a sand storm. Note: my copy of Mary Karr's Cherry still has sand in its crevices - so much so that I can't really read it in bed these days. It's more of a lunch time read...









While we both admitted a somewhat sense of dread for the hike back (we hiked "down" to the beach, so you get the idea...), we both agreed that the hike back was faster and easier. Possibly it was the dreaminess of that magic hour, when the sun starts to bow out - making everything glisten.





On trails, I'm all eyes down - checking for slithering critters (a certain reptile I'm not so found of - and, yes, there was a sighting). Considering my focus on what surrounds my feet, I have to make a concerted effort to look ahead, above and around every once in a while. During one of those moments, I tilted my head back to discover the most beautiful tree formation in the sky. It's incredible to think they're always like that, the trees - with only slight variations throughout the day. I thought of this as they slowly swayed into each other. Strong willed, but free to let loose - those trees.



A long day's journey into night. Pleasantly spent from our day of almost 10 miles of hiking, we ate an early dinner, played some gin rummy and watched a foggy sunset. We were in the tadpole before it was dark, because nothing could keep us from the coziness of reading our books (and maybe the latest Bon App├ętit starring Gwyneth Paltrow :) in our sleeping bags.



Waking up to the sound of birds is better than an alarm clock - I'm just saying. Sunday morning it was time for us to venture home, which, though sad, is part of the deal. Unless you want to commit to life as a mountain woman (which I have no plans to do - I just love "Modern Family" way too much) one must return to that real world. Because, truly, that world is awaiting my return - and that feels good.



Soaking in my favorite tree...



The meadows are non-stop, except for when we stop in our tracks to gaze upon them.

While enjoying our lovely hike back to the car (nostalgia setting in), we talked quite a bit about what we'd be doing next. I always feel like the easiest way to transition out of a trip is to plan exciting things for when you get back. First on the list? A quick trip back to Point Reyes Station to visit the Bovine Bakery for a morning bun and a muffin.



A perfect way to end the perfect weekend!

Camping in Point Reyes was just what I needed to see in the summer. When you camp, you're supposed to leave no trace. Luckily, it's not the other way around. My escape into nature has stayed with me throughout the week - and I'm hoping that it never leaves. Nature, nature, please oh please, leave your trace with me.

***By the way: check out my guest post on the blog Simple Lovely! Joslyn invited me to do a blogger's favorites and it went up today. Thanks for the loveliness, Jos. xo

25 comments:

  1. I love this post. It makes me want to get out in nature. And that picture of the canopy of trees overhead. Amazing. Love reading about your adventures!

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  2. This is so gorgeous! Alex will be happy to hear that this has made me want to go camping. love it! xo

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  3. Love, love, love this Sur. So beautiful! Especially the winding trail pictures (and the campers, of course). Also love that tadpole. But where is Stuart Little? xoxoox

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  4. ahhhh! torture me much? you're allowed. beautiful thread on Simple Lovely. love you!

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  5. I am happy to hear that this has made Heather want to go camping. Will you be our camping guide Meg?

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  6. i can only imagine how many self-timers you had to sort through in order to find these amazingly beautiful pics. You're sure keeping the coast warm, my lovely! xoxo

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  7. Your post has me recalling my big adventure from last summer, a week-long rafting trip on the Salmon River. Most memorable of all, falling asleep under a star show that really made me understand my place in the universe! Idaho awaits you Megan. xoxoxo

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  8. No step is a given (but we certainly continue to put one foot in front of the other in the most spirited ways). What a special, special weekend, and a great way to ring in the summertime!

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  9. Sky camp--I've been there before (!), but your words and beauteous pictures have got me itching to get back. What a lovely weekend escape. Missing you!

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  10. Love the overhead tree kaleidoscope! Lacing up my wishful hiking boots now! xo

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  11. This is so inspiring and makes me want to be outside as much as possible this weekend! and I want that bun NOW!

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  12. What a beautiful trip. I love this post!

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  13. this is all really beautiful and beyond! :)

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  14. i was already obsessed with and jealous of this trip and then you throw in a sticky bun!!?!

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  15. Such a beautiful post and pictures. Can't wait to read more of your blog tomorrow but for now dreaming of the west, those trees and that sticky bun:)

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  16. girl, now I want to go camping! Just remembered I 've always loved it!

    xxx
    Daria
    http://dariatsar.blogspot.com/

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  17. what a beautiful post!! I love to see things through your lens!

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  18. Hi nice to meet you, Jody here living in Oakland. Came through SimpleLovely. Stunning pictures of Point Reyes, so restful and serene there. My husbands taken most of the kids there this weekend camping and so I am doing back to back movies which I never do...Loved Man on the Moon too. So a bit of everything for this weekend.

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  19. loving the photos, as always :)

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  20. I want to recreate this weekend for myself sometime soon. But until then, your photos and words are a magical alternative.

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  21. That muffin looks unreal! And I really, really want one. Right now.

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  22. This looks like a dream! I need to plan a trip to Northern CA ASAP!!!

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  23. The best part of this is that I really feel like I was there with you. {Maybe it is all the Pt. Reyes love that grows in my heart, or simply your lovely prose.} Whatever the reason, thanks!

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  25. To the sweetest readers ever,

    Thank you for these lovely and thoughtful comments. I'm so happy to have shared my favorites with you all. Point Reyes is in my heart, but it's a getting a little crowded in there with what fills my heart now -- which is ALL OF YOU!!!

    xoMegan

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