Los Padres NF, Coldwater Camp, 2017

(Preface: Normally I write after a trip, but this time am trying something trip was to solely go camping, so I jotted down notes in a notepad my sister got me for Christmas during the trip to describe where I was and what I was experiencing. I've not solo backpacked this area since 2004 (look for Manzana Schoolhouse 2004 in the popdown menu, only time I got to play with EIR film before it was discontinued), when I had mild heatstroke and realized the dangers of soloing. This time, brought lots of water, and the temperatures didn't really get above maybe 85, and the mountains welcomed me with cool evening breezes and an excellent sunrise! Stream of thought notes begin now. -Ed)

It hits like a moment of clarity, like falling instantly in love, profound and sudden. The mountains are calling, and I must go.

Why is the back country beautiful?

No people except those you bring, everything is reduced immediately to its essence


Knowing no one can teach you but yourself, controlling entirely your social immersion and isolation

Fresh air!

Where your boots are your best buddy

Kicking yourself because you forgot your hot sauce

Learning how to pitch a tent you've not used in years

Sitting legs akimbo in the middle of the night listening to the song of insects carried on the soft wind.

Stars and the big sky.

Having a special relationship with your headlamp. And spare batteries.

Waiting for those freeze dried eggs and bacon in the morning

When you can't figure out how those bugs can get in your tent or how to get them out

Sleeping under a big old oak whose branches are welcoming protecting arms.

Little flies buzzing in your ear

Can anything surpass the ease and comfort of digging a cathole and a great morning shit in the woods

Coffee and eggs at the break of day

And the morning sun on the mountains.

Why is the back country beautiful? Simply because it is there, welcoming everyone with open arms, just waiting to show off its beauty and serene pace of being. May I live to be judged by the mountains, and I hope they will judge me well and always welcome me home.

The Photographs

Picutres were from the a900 system with the 24-70 lens. I did something different and tried to capture the experience of camping, of this lovely campground here in the Los Padres, of playing cards around the singing birds, drinking whiskey, listening to Elvis pouring out of a small phone speaker, reading Nietzsche, a lovely welcoming tent at night, and the light of the morning. Wish I could let others experience that joy of a glorious night at Coldwater camp.

Click "Next" in the upper right to begin.