Our first official morning of camping, Waits woke up early with the birds. I was still exhausted, but Jeremy was kind enough to get up with the kiddo and begin the breakfasting. Later, he told me that those early mornings, working in the cold and quiet, hanging with Waits, were some of his favorite memories from the trip. And aren’t I lucky for that? I’ll take the toasty warm tent, thankyouverymuch.
I finally emerged, persuaded by the amazing smells wafting in from outside . . .
. . . and the coffee, of course!
After breakfast it was time for the washing up, which we did at our little “mess hall” tree station.
We used a simple solar shower (they’re super cheap) which we’d gotten with the intention of taking solar showers, but which we found instead worked just perfectly as a sink. I suppose we could have used it as both, but meh. Who needs showers anyway?
Every morning we would fill the solar shower using the melted ice water from our two 48-quart coolers. This would make room for new ice as well as re-use the water, which was important to us. Win-win! Hanging from a tree near camp, it was like our own private sink station, and man it made clean-up a breeze.
And for the cleaning, we used Mrs. Meyers dish soap, which is all-natural, cruelty-free, and best of all biodegradable! The perfect camping soap indeed.
After breakfast was cleaned up and everything was packed back into the bear box, it was time to hit the road for another adventure. We had a big day ahead of us!
Our first stop was Moro Rock, which promised a pretty special view. But on our way there we got a bit distracted . . . by a bear!
This guy was pretty far away, but still so special to see. Just a young black bear prowling through the woods, bein’ all gorgeous and amazing!
And then, on to Moro Rock.
When we told Waits that we were going camping in the forest, he asked us if there would be faeries there. And could we look for some? And could he please have a faerie costume so that the faeries would want to come out and meet him?
Jeremy and I both agreed that camping just isn’t camping without a faerie costume. And this is the one he chose.
So, this little faerie climbed Moro Rock. And Moro Rock . . . how to describe Moro Rock.
You’re basically walking up narrow stairs carved into the side of a giant granite mountain cap. Yeah, that’s about right. And the pictures don’t do it justice as far as expressing height and magnitude. It just keeps going up. And up. And up. Every time you think you’re almost at the top, you turn a corner and realize the mountain just keeps going up.
I don’t know that Jeremy and I would have gone the whole way, but Waits insisted on it. I’m so glad he did, but it was nerve-wracking. I was clinging to his hand so tight, terrified he was going to slip.
Man, what am I gonna do with this kid?
By the time we got back down, our legs were shaking uncontrollably and Waits had a big blister on his heal. But it was amazing, and totally worth it. If you’re ever in Sequoia I can’t recommend this experience highly enough.
Next on our agenda was an afternoon of good old fashioned spelunking – cave exploring 200 feet under the earth. But in order to get to the cave we had to hike once more, this time down a canyon, past a waterfall, and into the valley below.
At the bottom of the ravine was the entrance to Crystal Caves. I took about a bajillion photos inside the caves, trying to capture the beauty of the rock formations and the wonder on Waits’s face. But cave photography is HARD and I basically failed.
Back at camp Waits and I took a little creekside stroll, and now I have to tell you my shameful secret and ask you to please, don’t do what I did.
So maybe it’s because I live in a beach town, and at the beach everyone takes. A pretty pebble, a shell, some sea glass. The waves wash endless treasures ashore and those treasures travel home in the happy pockets of tourists and locals alike. That’s just the way it is.
And it’s the only reason I can think of to explain why it didn’t even occur to me that picking wildflowers in a National Park is not only terribly illegal, but also not very nature-friendly either. And as soon as it was pointed out to me I realized “Oh! Of course!” and I felt like pretty much the biggest dummy ever.
So yes, there’s a beautiful bouquet on the table in the following pictures. Please do not take it as an endorsement of my behavior. I am embarrassed and apologetic, and I learned my lesson.
While I set about preparing our dinner, Jeremy and Waits settled into a little project:
And before too much time had passed, the table was set – complete with fully-erect T-Rex – and dinner was served!
A closeup. Grilled zucchini and veggie burgers:
Right around dusk is when the mosquitos come out, and being right next to a stream, we were in prime skeeter territory. Luckily we had come prepared!
You guys. This stuff – Badger bug spray – works SO WELL. I couldn’t believe it. But we compared a few products and this all-natural and organic spray had a much higher percentage of essential oils than the other comparable options. So we went with Badger and I’m so glad we did. You have to use a pretty good amount, but once you get it on, the stuff WORKS. Definitely recommend!
After that it was quick to bed for all of us, completely exhausted from a jam-packed day.
The next morning was our last in Sequoia, and I decided to get up early with Waits and let Jeremy catch up on some sleep.
Coffee. And for breakfast I made a simple “camping hash” with cubed potato, onion, bell pepper, and black beans. But dressed up, of course, ’cause that’s how we do.
Not too shabby for camp food, I’d say.
A few days later, up at Mount Shasta, I forgot to put on the Badger Bug-Spray, and we got bitten to smithereens. My legs were torn up and I was itching like crazy, especially in my sleep. So Jeremy found me this:
And WOWZA, it saved me! Again, all natural and based on essential oils. This stuff is soothing and amazing and it allowed me to get a good night’s sleep despite my bug-bitten lower half. So, I just wanted to pass along the tip to all of you. SssstingStop. It’s good stuff.
That morning in Sequoia we packed up all our gear, broke down the tent, bade our campsite farewell, and hit the road. Yosemite bound.
It was a long day of driving, detouring, and dodging multiple wildfires, and we didn’t make it into Yosemite until dusk. But more on that another day . . .
For now? Homemade raw zucchini chips! And a little shared love: please tell me, what are your favorite all-natural camping essentials? Any must-have’s for my currently-in-the-works camp kit? Thank guys!
Just an FYI, I was not comped or compensated for any of these products/reviews, I just loved them and wanted to share. The links are affiliate links like always. Square?