Old People Go Tent Camping

April 28, 2017

We survived our first night in a tent in several years. It all started with a desire to visit the Channel Islands National Park. Being a Californian, I did find it somewhat embarrassing to have never visited one of our state  national parks. After all we have trekked around the desert and Sierra parks for years. Unlike the Ahwannee in Yosemite, there are no beds on Santa Cruz Island. We needed to make alternative arrangements.


We have tent camped in Europe and all over the US. We used to backpack but our last time carrying stuff was on the French and Spanish Camino a few years ago. Of course, on the Camino we had a warm bed, a meal and shower and a bottle of wine each night. This trip would be different, even if only for one night. I began by packing at home. The process brought back fond memories of camping as a scout. Back then we got our equipment at an Army Surplus store with real WWII stuff. That meant canvas pup tents, steel eating stuff, duck feather sleeping beds and other real stuff. My packing now consists of high tech fabrics and plastics. Quite a change.

Getting to Santa Cruz Island meant a 20 mile boat ride. Because of high winds and seas, several boat trips were canceled. They launched a camper only boat and we climbed on. We joined around 30 high school kids heading to the more remote Santa Rosa Island. We sat down where the Rangers collected. The kids went to the bow and the top levels. We chose the stern and down low. As we left the harbor and hit the swells the kids shrieked with joy at the E ticket ride. Within 30 minutes, the same kids were lining the railing and feeding the fishes with their breakfast. We were fine by watching the horizon and a with little help from Dramamine for Peggy.


Set up our new backpacking tent. I admit that I gave it a trial run at home. Our family remembers watching people with tent struggles in Yosemite. Did not want that. Sure enough, the newbie campers near us had forgotten their tent poles. I helped the guy jerry rig the tent with some cording. They survived. The cute Islamd Foxes were immediately watching for any mistake. They actually know how to unzip zippers on your pack. We watched a fox unzip a day tripper’s pack and run off with a bag of chips. It would have made a great UTube video.

We took hikes on both days to cliff overviews of the ocean. The winds never stopped but we were fine and didn’t get blown off. It was a good thing since the island is indeed isolated. We would encounter a few folks on our hikes and enjoyed talking with our fellow adventurers. We shared our humble table with a young computer programmer from the Netherlands and hiked the trails with a retired engineer from New Mexico. Interesting people end up in interesting places with the possible exception of us.


The voyage back was even more exciting with the following seas almost appearing to swamp the boat. We were now ready for the LA freeway system.

5 thoughts on “Old People Go Tent Camping

  1. Sounds like an exciting adventure. How were the foxes….were they real pests? The juveniles on Prince Edward Island roamed in packs at the National Park attacking walkers.

  2. I am almost ready to retire. I still enjoy camping, even though most trips now are in an RV, but I still have a tent. My family camped years ago in the Red Woods forest in California, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. We did however camp a lot along the Oregon Coast, Deshutes River, and Detroit Lake all in Oregon. Very found memories from that era. I now live in Illinois and still find time to get out on a weekend. Mostly camping around Lake Yeager, Litchfield IL., and Carlyle Lake in Carlyle, IL. I do enjoy camping with my kids and grand kids. I may not get to travel like you, it would be wonderful, but I do enjoy your travels and photos. Keep it up. I look forward checking in on your next adventure.

  3. I am almost ready to retire. I still enjoy camping, even though most trips now are in an RV, but I still have a tent. My family camped years ago in the Red Woods forest in California, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. We did however camp a lot along the Oregon Coast, Deshutes River, and Detroit Lake all in Oregon. Very fond memories from that era. I now live in Illinois and still find time to get out on a weekend. Mostly camping around Lake Yeager, Litchfield IL., and Carlyle Lake in Carlyle, IL. I do enjoy camping with my kids and grand kids. I may not get to travel like you, it would be wonderful, but I do enjoy your travels and photos. Keep it up. I look forward checking in on your next adventure.

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