Halloween in the Woods

[ 1 ] November 12, 2009 |
Hiking in San Bernardino National Forest

Hiking in San Bernardino National Forest, CA

I’m not sure when it happened but at sometime in my life I became super disenchanted with holidays.

I’m not saying that I despise them rather just don’t see why the money drain is necessary. So when  friend asked me to get away for Halloween weekend, I couldn’t resist.

Ok, I use to love to dress up. My mom was the best at Halloween costumes. Some of my best memories are when this stranger would arrive at school each year in the best outfit.

Most of the time I had no clue that it was my mom. She’d walk through all the classrooms so all the kids could try to guess! So I guess there was a time I did relish in holidays.

Anyhow, back to Halloween. My friend Todd knows I like to get outdoors so he suggested we go camping and hiking near his house – east of LA, near the Bernardino Nat’l Forest.

Gourmet Eating in Nature

Gourmet Eating in Nature

He takes his kids there all the time, so he knew it was only a couple hours away time wise, but a world away from the craziness of this holiday in Los Angeles. I took charge with the food (since I eat raw and veg and healthy) and he grabbed everything else he could.

We decided to car camp which is crazy for me, something I only do now and then, but we wanted to build a campfire at night. Because it is so dry here in our beloved state, there’s only a couple places you can have them, so we cruised up Highway 38 till we hit Barton Flats campground.

I’m not usually a fan of ready made campgrounds where you are right next to other strangers – like 15 feet.. but this place was laid out nicely and there was no one there, pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Since we are both procrastinators, we didn’t really get up into the mountains until right at sunset, just in time to catch it. With the sun went the warm temperatures. Seriously got cold quickly, so we set up camp and got to cooking.

Ah the pleasures of car camping. Todd has a stove so dinner was super easy. I made a fresh garden salad with all sorts of veggies, then I made quinoa – the wonder grain chalked full of protein – I hardly eat any other grain anymore. and we sauteed up some mushrooms and other vegetables, then made a super yummy coconut curry. We ate and drank like king and queen that night.

Hanging in Camp, Barton Flats, Big Bear, Ca

Todd brought his guitar and we put the night to bed hanging in a hammock, fire blazing and Todd singing any lyric he could.

I made us use my tent because I absolutely love my tent. It’s a 3-season tent by MSR which is entirely mesh roof and sides – perfect for star gazing. When it gets cold you throw over the 2nd piece, the tarp.

I so wanted to watch the stars, so we had to compromise and put the tarp (because it was freezing out) 3/4 of the way, just so I could fall asleep under the stars. Todd is such a good sport!

Man, have I become a total wimp when it comes to cold weather – crazy – I wore way too much to bed.. but finally found the right temp inside my sleeping bag. I slept like a log, it usually happens in nature :)

Todd Working his way up the South Fork Trail

Todd working his way up the South Fork Trail

The next morning we secured camp, grabbed tea, coffee, breakfast.. then packed a lunch and headed out on the trail.

We decided to hike the South Fork Trail because Todd takes his 3 little girls on mini hikes there – BUT – he didn’t take into consideration that he was with me and I wasn’t going to be satisfied with some small 2 mile hike, so I pushed us forward, more than once.

It was a gorgeous day, perfect fall temps. and not a cloud in the sky. We slept at like 7-thousand feet and started our hike probably around 7500? I thought for sure Todd would have a map, but he didn’t even think to bring one.

Maybe that’s just my mountaineering side coming out. I don’t like going into the woods and not having a map to see where I am, where I’m going and what to look for. It’s kind of flying blind.

While I like adventure and being implusive, it’s just plain dumb to hike without a map… but… we pressed on until a fork in the trail. One went to Dry Lake, the other to Cloud Lake..which sounded much more appetizing to me.

Come to find out from some folks on the trail that it’s one big 26 mile loop! I would have LOVED to get up early and bust ass all the way up to the top of Gorgonio mtn. 11-thousand feet and then back down and around.

Wilderness_camping_with_Kirsten Gum

Hiking to Cloud Lake, South Fork Trail, San Bernardino Nat’l. Forest

I will definitely go back and do it another time, maybe camp on the trail type deal!

We decided to hike until we reached Cloud Lake, which it turned out was a huge let down. No, no eating yummy health lunch of kale chips, zucchini hummus, seaweed snack and such along a sparkling blue lake… this sucker was dry, dry, dry.

A couple of hikers suggested we bypass the dry lake and go to the saddle, which is exactly what we did… right at 10-thousand feet.

Todd was a little worn down. It definitely had slipped his mind how much I love to go exploring. We found this sweet spot between two big rocks to settle down and have lunch and had a tremendous view west. Food always tastes better when you are in nature.

South Fork Trail, 10-thousand Feet

South Fork Trail, 10-thousand Feet

We took it pretty slow coming back down because my friend has some badknees which were acting up as well as a stretched calf. Uuugh, poor guy hung in there though.

Sake was our celebration drink back down at camp – and because we again were getting to camp as the sun was setting, we decided a nice hot sake was in the cards for the night.

We started a huge campfire and invited some neighbors over for Halloween celebration, food, drinks, songs.. it was such a good time. Another wonderful meal of salmon, quinoa and a huge salad.

Now this is how I’d like to spend every holiday…. in fact.. maybe I will!!!

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Category: Travel & Adventure, Yoga & Fitness

Comments (1)

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  1. Dean says:

    Dear Ms. Gum…
    I started writing a moment ago and lost my message…bummer!…anyway it may have been a bit to long but the feeling was to say thank you for doing your show…”Tresure Hunter”…I just saw it for the first time tonite and I truly believe your doing something that you love!!!…It brought back my memories of hiking the Beartooth Plateau in Montana..flyfishing in the Catskill Mountains of New York and camping and fishing in Acadia National Park in Maine among others!!…having worked in places like the Plasma Physics Lab at Princeton University and spending many years in downtown Manhattan as a computer dork its time for me to get out of this rat race and get back out there!!…I’ve read much of your website and I’m very impressed…you have inspired me!!…I hope this note finds you healthy and happy!…best of luck with all your future endevours!
    Dean from New Jersey
    Ps..you’re right…food does taste better outdoors and the best coffee I ever had was at a campsite outside Bar Harbour Maine!

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