Do you ever spontaneously want to get away? Well that was me on the Thursday before this excursion. I was itching for an adventure on the outskirts of San Diego, but something cheap. Ya feel? I wanted to get away and unplug and just be able to connect with Jordan and with nature and ~ myself ~. I popped onto reservecalifornia.com and found the last, and I mean THE last, campsite in southern California. Initially I wanted to beach camp, but those sites book up months/weeks in advance. Such is life. I can’t complain, we got a killer spot in the mountains and it was so refreshing. We packed up our camping gear and headed towards Palomar Mountain.
This was our first weekend adventure in the 4Runner so we were both stoked to break it in for this trip. The drive took us about an hour from San Diego which wasn’t too bad. I believe the elevation was about 4000-5000 feet, so we didn’t spend too long climbing the mountain in our car. Although I did get a bit car-sick from all the twists and turns, which NEVER happens to me.
Upon getting to the top of the mountain, we lost phone signal. I had to navigate us to the campground somewhat blindly (it’s only until later that we realized our car has navigation and works even if there’s no phone signal around LOL). We arrived to our site and began to set up our tent, chairs, etc. I can’t describe how ANNOYING the bugs were during the day - Jordan can attest to this. The bugspray I bought must have been a dud because they attacked our face and neck and eyes and AGH. It was horrific only until we started a campfire. The bugs went away after that.
We had a couple hours to kill before dinner so we found a trailhead right by our site and set off on a “small” hike.
This hike was incredibly beautiful. It always surprises me how quiet it is up in the mountains and how fresh the air is. We found a trail that looped around this valley and it was so cool to see the giant trees, tall grasses, and wildflowers that sprouted up right by the path.
We’re not expert campers or outdoorsmen by any stretch of the imagination, so we underestimated how long the hike would take us. We finally made it back about an hour and a half later, hopped in the car, and arrived at our intended dinner restaurant to find that it closed about an hour before we got there. WOMP WOMPPPP. I guess that was my fault for not checking the hours before we left. We didn’t really have a lot of food at the campsite so luckily there was a general store open that had a few dinner options. We chose hot dogs since those were an easy camping meal! Not that we had much of a choice.
Our night consisted of hot dogs, Juneshine Midnight Painkiller (this is a plug - if you live in San Diego you NEED to get your hands on this hard kombucha. It changed my life), and of course - smores. What’s a camping trip without smores?!
As it got dark we listened to music and stargazed and talked about life. It’s so easy when you’re married (or live with your s/o) to kind of just become roommates, in a sense. You have to be so intentional about connecting with your partner and setting time aside to be with them. We talked about spirituality, the universe, our lives, and where we want to be in a few years. I realized I really don’t want a lot in life, materialistically, I just want to own my own house or condo, have a couple golden retrievers, and be able to go to the beach every day if I want to.
We woke up the next day pretty early (thanks, natural light!). Jordan made us a fire and I filled up a pot of water to make french press coffee. It was a little chilly outside, which I loved. The coffee wasn’t super great (hey, it’s my first time making camping coffee!), but at least we had muffins and yogurt and fruit in our cooler. I climbed back into my tent and cozied up with a new book for about 30 minutes or so until we decided we should pack up the campsite. We got everything in the car and headed for the diner we had originaly wanted to go to for dinner. We quickly realized it was a vegetarian place (did not know!), but that was fine with us. I found it endearing because this was apparently the meet up spot for a bunch of bikers.
After breakfast I wanted to make a quick trek up to the Palomar Observatory. This is basically what Palomar Mountain is known for, so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see this historic landmark. God bless our car navigation because I had no idea how to get there. We drove on the mountain roads with the windows down and I felt eternally blissful. There’s something about leaning out the car window with the wind in your face and breathing in the mountain air. Refreshing to say the least.
We found the observatory and walked around the grounds for a bit. We got to go inside the observatory and actually see the telescope! Wow! I got a sticker in the gift shop because that’s what I do when I visit places. It was time to head back because Jordan sometimes works on Sundays and this happened to be one of those days where he needed signal LOL.
It was a much needed escape and I can’t wait for more camping adventures in the 4Runner. What a life to be able to go to either the beach or the mountains all within about an hour. Still can’t get over this life.
The best adventures are ahead,