Things did not go as planned… I think those words are the story, or at least the current theme, in my life right now! This trip was no different. Riddled with twists and turns like the mountain roads I was driving. This trip had me on my toes.

One of the Facebook groups I’m in had a 7 day Bodie/Yosemite Expedition planned and since I’d never been to Yosemite I put my name in the hat. A month went by and I’d completely forgotten about it until I opened FB Messenger and saw I was added to a new Bodie/Yosemite chat. I was so excited. I’d never done a multi-state, multi-day trip of this magnitude before. The closest I’d been was a quick 72 hr turn around to Mojave California to do the Jawbone Canyon run with Low Pressure Crew. That can’t even compare.

This trip I drove over 2,200 miles, crossed four states, primitive camped five nights and stealth camped one. I visited three National Parks in just two days! This trip felt like a whirlwind of excitement, I know I haven’t fully come down from the adrenaline yet. I almost feel like I’m on tour except I’m the paparazzi and I’m chasing National Parks across the southwest. 

As always there were so many great lessons that I learned on this trip. Try not to overpack. Don’t overload the fridge. Keep it simple. Adapt and overcome was definitely the running theme. Every day was different than planned. As the group encountered options and obstacles, decisions were made on a nightly basis for the next day’s trek. The itinerary flexing and flowing like one of the mountain streams we frequently followed. 

Day one of the trip was actually one of the few days that did go mainly as planned. The group met up outside of Phoenix and hit the 10 west to California. A usually boring drive through the desert then we jumped up the 330 toward Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake. It was a beautiful drive and brought back fond memories of skiing at Snow Summit in the winter and driving to Bear to purchase my first 4×4 vehicle, a 1981 CJ7. Man, I loved that jeep, it’s deeply missed. 

As we came up to Big Bear lake we stopped at the boat launch for a quick break to stretch our legs, walk the dogs and take a few pictures. It was so beautiful. Very windy and brisk. I had to put my sweatshirt on when I got out of the truck and I was still cold. I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying the beautiful view. Walking down to the dock to snap a few pics in the warm sun helped a bit. Just as I was starting to get colder it was time to pack up and make our way up the mountain to our campsite for the evening.

I’d never driven any trails around Bear when I lived here. I stayed mainly to the badlands between  Moreno Valley and Banning. The trails up here are so beautiful. I get a little bit of a Flagstaff vibe with the tall pines but it’s different. It’s strange because the elevation is lower but it’s not as warm. We drove about 10 miles around a few curves and up and down a few valleys before we found our spot. It was big enough for all 14 vehicles, deploying two RTT’s and several ground tents. It was a windy spot but we made due. Everyone quickly made camp, cooked dinner & hunkered down around the propane fire pits to enjoy an evening of camaraderie and stories.

The next morning I made my go-to egg burrito with a piece of bacon from the previous night. I wasn’t as hungry as I thought so I wrapped the 2nd half in foil and put it in my dash to keep warm for lunch. 

Day two a few changes were made but nothing too major. Except this one change that prevented catastrophe. Stay tuned for Day Two to learn how advice from a local business person saved us from disaster! 

See ya out there!