Lola and I went camping for the first time this past weekend. Well, I don’t know if you can really call it camping: we drove all they way to the campsite, we stayed in a pavilion type structure (with a bed!) instead of a real tent, and most importantly, our friends John and Myra took care of all the cooking / fire building / bear precautions. And yet, it feels like we camped: we were cold (slept with several blankets), we hiked on a trail, and we ate a sack lunch.

It was great going with John and Myra, since they took care of bringing all the food and cooking it. If Lola and I had been in charge, we’d probably would have had bears all over the place in the night, after suffering hypothermia. Instead, we had a huge roaring fire and lots of good wine and company (a bunch of other friends from college). It did get pretty cold at night, and I wish I’d taken John’s advice to wear a hat while I slept.

The next day, we drove to the Magnolia Grove and hiked around. We didn’t make it all the way up to the museum or to the Fallen Tunnel tree, but we got to see a bunch of the most interesting trees: the Grizzly Giant, the Faithful Couple, and the Clothespin. Lola and I had to cut the day short because we had to get back to the South Bay since Lola’s flight left the next morning. Everyone else stayed to hike Half Dome the next day.

On our way back, we stopped at Five Guys. Verdict: awesome fries, but the burger just didn’t come together the way In ‘n Out burgers do, even with the extra toppings. If only you could take the best parts of all fast food restaurants and tie them up into one cholesterol bomb of a meal. Ah well. A man can dream.

As a kid, we never went camping, ever. My dad was very outdoorsy, but my mother couldn’t really fathom a vacation without a shower. My best friend and I tried sleeping outside one night when we were kids: we took sleeping bags out to the playset in my yard. I think we made it up until about 9 or 10 PM until we went inside, where my mom was waiting with ice cream for us. This was the same playset my brother tried to camp in years earlier: the sprinkler system turned on in the middle of the night and he had to go sleep with our dogs in the garage for the rest of the night since everyone in the house was already asleep and the alarm system was activated.

Would we go again? Sure, but we’re still not ready for a big solo outing or anything. Still, I think my dad would be a little proud of the baby step.

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