Good Times in Big Bear

Recently we were presented with an opportunity to camp in the local mountains (Big Bear CA) at a reserved group camp. A friend of ours had it reserved months in advance but had to cancel only days before. Well, being the outdoor person i am, i didn't let it pass us by. I immediately got on the horn and got a group of people together, accepted donations and paid the friend for the spot. The nice thing about this camp, is that it wasn't next to a highway, or behind a drug store... this particular spot was off a dirt road in a somewhat remote area of the east side of the San Bernardino mountains near Big Bear. It was right up our alley and made for a perfect base camp for the weekend.

Most of us headed up Friday afternoon since it was only a two hour drive and we had it in our name for the entire week. Figured we might as well make the most of it. The agenda at hand was to relax, explore a bit on Saturday, Fish on Sunday and have a Potluck inbetween. A perfect weekend.

Locked and loaded. Ready to depart from the shop. It was nice to only have to drive a couple hours to camp for the first time in a long time.

Arriving at camp. The maximum of this group camp is 8 vehicles and 40 people. The cost is $60/night.

A couple nice things about the reserved camps is that you know your site will be available when you arrive and second, you don't get people moving in or scouting through in the middle of the night or while you're away from the camp. This was especially true for this somewhat remote camp as it was located off a dead end dirt road with a gate nearby.

Shooting some photos of the area near the edge of the camp. We were setup next to a beautiful meadow.

Looking down the meadow. Fully protected but can be traveled and explored on foot.

A cozy first night around a fire with friends. Everyone drove up this first day, so we usually keep it simple the first night.

Nice shot of the classic styling of the SCT "Buzz Off" Teardrop in the background.

After settling in for the night and most people arriving we hit the sack and woke up the next morning ready for the trail run. Our plan wasn't to do anything too challenging, but more make a loop and see the areas that the east side of the San Bernardino had to offer.
Lining up and heading out.

Nice view of the valley where we were camped.

Dixie was loving the fresh air and all the good smells on the trail.

First stop would be Onyx Peak at just a hair over 9,000 feet. Spectacular views all around, including the high desert and San Gorgonio (highest peak in Southern California) located at 11,500 feet.

And yes, unfortunately thats the smog layer you see.

San Gorgonio, or "Old Greyback" as they call it.

Onyx Peak is also home to some of the oldest living and largest Juniper tree's on the mountain.

Doug and Tracy taking a break and enjoying their surroundings.

Heading back down the trail. Views all around.

Baldwin Lake in the distance.

We headed down 2n93 towards Wildhorse Meadow to make a loop from the 38 and back the 38.

Wildhorse Meadows, this was where we chose to eat lunch. People don't realize there's so much to see in our local mountains. It's not just about John Bull, Dishpan Springs, etc.... there's more than that out there and many of it is remote and decollete. We saw 2 vehicles the whole day. It was perfect.

Once back to the 38, we opted to take a moderate trail run back to camp 2n04. This was NAXJA's adopt a trail. Although i don't think anyone took photos, it was nice to head up and mildly challenging to where you at least had to pay attention since it was a shelf road that wasn't too wide in certain sections.

After the trail run everyone relaxed and enjoyed camp. Linda doing some shoulder work.

Some more than others...

Dixie enjoying the sun as always.

Ethan and Allison enjoying the great outdoors.

Travis lounging like no other.

Upon return to camp, we met James and Sylvia waiting for us. They had arrived only a short time after we left for the trail run. It was good to see them out again on a trip. It had been too long.

Someone getting too much attention as always from mom.

It was time to light the grill... or get the fire going so we could make coals to cook on.

I think this is the largest charcoal grill i've ever seen. I had a huge smile on my face since im the grilling man.

Doing what manly men do. Stand and watch a grill with a beer in their hand.

The Potluck shortly began early in the evening. It was quite the feast. Marinated chicken, caramelized sugar pork chops, fresh trout caught a day before, two different salads, chicken drums glazed in bbq sauce, sausage Jambalaya, grilled onions and grilled potatoes, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese .. it was out of control. And im sure i left plenty out!

The crowd was ready.

The line started to form..

Ethan thinking in his head... "Don't you even think about it"

Tree hour was starting. It's the best time of the day in the Forest in my opinion.

Sun setting on camp, just a beautiful night and a great place to be.

Doug started in on the fire, we had plenty of wood to burn. He did one heck of a job keeping a 80 degree temperature quarter mile radius.

This in turned opened the door for dessert. Pieholes and Dutch Oven Cobbler. Yep, more food. We were all stuffed.

Great scenery, good food and good friends. What more could you want?

The next morning i woke up, backed the truck out of camp quietly and headed for the Santa Ana River.

After fishing 2.5 hours and getting tired of being bit by flies, mosquitos and having to rebuild my fishing line every 2 minutes i called it. If i looked exhausted its because i barely slept the night before because i was so excited to fish. That's was probably part of my problem, i was too tired to care about putting in 110% once i got there. Kind of a shame. There's always next time and even the worst day fishing beats the best day at work. In our case, we mix both so i don't know where that puts me.

Once retired from fishing i headed back to camp and started packing up. We kept in contact the entire time via basecamp antenna mast with the Sugarloaf repeater. . After i arrived back at camp, most people had left and were headed for an afternoon on Big Bear Lake. James, Sylvia and Linda were still around to help pack up.

So all in all, It was a great impromptu trip and we want to thank everyone for coming out in such short notice. We had a blast. I don't know how it could get any better? Maybe just more great friends that couldn't attend.

Until next time, thank you all for reading out adventures.

Photos by James Chatary, Travis Schanafelt, Doug Guimmond and Dave Druck. © ADVENTUREDUO 2011.