Camping in Sequoia National Forest

A little idea hit me a few weeks ago.. Why not go camping in Giant Forest and check off some bucket list items while we're at it? Technically it was a birthday trip for the whole fam.. we went to San Fran and Lake Tahoe last year. I'm hoping we keep this adventure birthday thing up for a while... I gathered all the info on where we could camp and what sites were near by to see. Aaron literally did everything else. I came home from work the day before we were heading out and the car was packed and ready to go. Can I just take a second to say, he planned it ALL. It was our first time camping together with Ren, so it was a one night trial run and he was a serious professional. The kid even took naps in the broad day light in the tent and went to bed at 7! We were amazed. 

The next morning we got up and out the door by 5am in order to reach Lodgepole campground as early as we could to secure a space. About an hour out from the campsite Aaron and I lost service on our phones. At first thoughts like "what if someone needs me?" or "what if a client has questions about their real estate deal?" flooded my mind, but then I looked around our tiny honda civic packed down with more blankets than one could count {I guess I was thinking we'd freeze at 6,500 feet up} and saw everything that matters the most to me in this life, my two boys. And that's when the unplugging and being present began. 

Thankfully we were second in line for the "first come, first serve" camping at Lodgepole. They usually book out six months in advance and rarely have spots available for walk ups, but we gave it a whirl. When they called our names we were thrilled and when they told us we were right on the river AND near the toilets we were even more excited. We settled into our campsite, set up the tent and made nachos over the fire for a quick late lunch... I know, I know, who eats nachos at a camp site? Well, with our recent voyage of eating as clean as possible {mostly vegetarian, more on that later} we still made it work, even while camping. 

While we were hanging at the picnic table after lunch I was literally reading the pamphlet on black bear safety since they seem to be in the area. It's no lie when at that very moment the ranger came up to us and stated that all belongings needed to be kept in the bear container at all times, except when eating. He said that the bears were in close proximity that evening so to make sure that we are safe by keeping belongings locked up. I was laughing out loud because I legit thought this was some sort of prank they play on the new kids and laughing at the timing, but as usual he was serious and I was more fearful now than ever. But I'm writing this so we made it! 

Now it was time to explore. We headed down to the beautifully clear river and found an area that was more appropriate for Ren to play in so he could play his ultimate favorite game, rock throwing. You would have honestly thought that we had just handed him the world on a silver platter. Simple kid I guess. 

When we first arrived I told Ren that it didn't matter how dirty he got. I literally wanted him to play as hard as he wanted too. Play in the dirt, throw rocks, roll around in nature, catch my drift? I am usually the clean freak, but raising an adventurous little soul called for letting go and embracing the wilderness we were in. At one point he looked like he had received a black eye from all the dirt he was smearing everywhere. He was sooooo happy, enjoying every second of it. Don't worry, I still washed his hands before he ate, but you would die if you saw the amount of gunk under his fingernails when we got home. But hey, it's all ok because the best memories were made by all. 

We took a long walk to a waterfall and Ren walked the whole time, accept we didn't make it all the way there because we decided to go with the flow and the flow was hungry and tired. Ren was such a trooper. He's really growing fast lately and I'm trying my very best to cling onto every moment as they swiftly slip through my fingers. We made taco salad for dinner and the sun began to set bringing a crisp breeze with it. Before we knew it, it was time for little man to head to bed. Faces washed. Teeth brushed and within minutes he was fast asleep in the tent. Aaron and I sat by the fire he made with nothing but the sound of a rushing river and crickets in the background, it was perfect. It wasn't too long into the silence that we were telling each other stories from elementary school, the ones we probably never would have ever mentioned to each other, but because it was just us with no distractions, the best stories were told and the best memories were made. 

The next morning we woke up with the sun, ate eggs over the fire and packed up our things to head onto General Sherman which did not disappoint. That tree is HUGE! And majestic. Really the entire forest makes you feel so small. Everything seems to melt away. We went and hiked Moro Rock after seeing General Sherman and that made me weak at the knees. I used to be really good at heights before I had Ren, but since having him being 7,000 feet up with nothing but a few small rocks keeping you from going over the edge has proven not to be my thing lately. So that was fun! We then started our 4 hour journey back home again and you can bet your bottom dollar we'll be back again. This place is magical and has so many beautiful things that our little family simply needed. 

Song by Novo Amor - Alps

Jamie