I didn't mean to abandon my blog for such a long time, but that's what ended up happening after I returned from a glorious end-of-summer camping trip to beautiful Collins Lake - with a broken ankle! After a quick surgery, I've been spending the last two weeks resting with lovely naps, a good book, and movies galore. It sounds great, to get an impromptu break, but it really took me a long time to adjust to my temporary condition. Walking with crutches is a huge adjustment as is being so dependent on other people to take care of me. Plus, I missed my beloved morning jogs! For the first week, I could not relax no matter how hard I tried. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I felt so lazy just lying around, not having done anything the whole day - even though that's the whole point of recuperating after surgery. After I finally got a grip, I assembled the photos I snapped of the camping trip before my disastrous slip-and-slide down a hill the last afternoon of our 2-day trip.
I should probably state now that I had some reservations about camping. It had only been in the last few years that I'd really started to enjoy running and hiking, and even then that was the extent of what I would consider outdoor activities that I could enjoy. I hadn't been camping since I was a kid, and back then I didn't like it at all. I really couldn't see myself being comfortable without a clean bathroom and soft bed to return to at night, and I'd come to accept that maybe I'm the kind of person that enjoys nature in small doses only. So a few months ago when I had brunch with my friend Claudia, a camping enthusiast, and told her about my hesitation, she laughed and said that camping as an adult is way more fun. She asked me if I'd ever be up for giving camping another chance, and, since I like to think that I'm always up for an adventure, I said yes. When June rolled around and she sent out an email to see which of her friends were up for an end-of-summer camp trip Collins Lake in August, I responded with a slightly hesitant "yes." Now that camping was turning into a reality (and not just something we talk about but never put into action), would I really enjoy it or would I be the lone person in the group who wouldn't "get" the fun of camping? I was excited to find out!
Our camping adventure started out on an overcast morning (typical for San Francisco, even in the summer). By the time we stopped for lunch at a taqueria in Yuba City, a very welcome 90 degree Farenheit heat greeted us summer-weather-starved Bay Area residents.
Claudia had already told me ahead of time that she'd be easing me into camping with Collins Lake, which offers such luxurious amenities as warm showers. But honestly, my first thought when we rolled into the camp site was how beautiful and serene the place was. I was beginning to "get" this whole camping thing.
After setting up our tents, the unrelenting heat had us all eager to cool off with a swim. When we arrived at South Yuba River State Park, it was five in the evening, but the heat was still going strong. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera with us to the swimming hole (I wanted to swim without worrying about it), because it was picture-esque beyong belief, especially with the late day sun lighting everyone so beautifully. Kids were whooping and hollering while jumping off giant rocks into the crisp, cool river while slippery, black fish darted between our legs. The water, while chilling at first, felt sooooo amazing on my skin after roasting in that heat. Even after I reluctantly got out, I felt clean and invigorated.
Once we arrived back at the camp site, more of our camping group had arrived, and we started setting up what will become ingrained in my brain as being one of the best parts of our camp trip- hot pot! Side note: this is how "out of it" I was when it comes to camping. Before we left, I asked Claudia how we were going to eat. "Do we have to catch our dinner?" I was completely serious about this question - as if fishing and foraging for berries was our only option for food. Second side note: I have to get this rant out of the way. I have had hot pot with people who ask what the point of hot pot is since, if they wanted to cook for themselves, they could just stay at home. Hot pot embodies aspects of food culture that I adore - cooking food for and enjoying food with loved ones simultaneously. It's the communal aspect that made me fall in love with food culture. Sure you could cook at home, but usually when you cook, it's a solitary exercise. With hot pot, it's a group activity from beginning to end, and it's f-cking awesome. Seriously.
And that concludes all the photos I have for this trip, since the next day was when I took my tumble which effectively left me with too much pain to be in the mood for picture-taking. I did manage to get another super fun swim father east on South Yuba River before my spill. And I am very happy to report that even after my accident, I still managed to enjoy things like gazing at the Milky Way under a blanket of stars, an epic bbq dinner, and the company of some truly fun people who I am now happy to call my friends. So even though my camping trip left me with an unfortunate souvenir, I would definitely be up for doing it again.
A huge thank you to my fellow campers for taking such good care of me, especially Claudia, Ricky, and Frank!Images by me