Living with Giants - A Magical Place
Angelis and Nina:
As we head into a new year and this year we are so excited to be spending the first moments and days on a camping trip in Brazil, we were inspired to write about one of our favorite places on this planet.
Angelis: I consider myself and by others to be a nature baby, a gypsy and a true blooded adventurer. I went camping a lot with my family since I was young, so I grew up with a keen taste for it. As I got older I find myself craving more and more to either be by the water, or within the mountains. If I could walk barefoot every moment of my life I would throw all my shoes away and never look back. To feel the energy of the earth and water between my toes is invigorating and there is nothing more inspiring and soul opening for me, than to be one with Mother Nature herself whenever possible. I wanted so much for Nina to experience this feeling with me, but I wasn't sure how she would handle the wild. It is hard to explain to a woman who I like to say, "grew up on the carpet", which simply means she grew up in a very typical city environment. I’m like a fish In water when it comes to camping plus it is so spiritually and mentally important for me to stay connected to the earth and reap its benefits.
When we moved to California I searched for the best places to go camping and explore, which lead me quickly to discover Sequoia National Park. I could not wait to discover the area and immediately went online to start purchasing some basic camping gear that we would need.
Nina and I had previously went on a mini camping trip with Lisa and Lauren from "This Colorful world" to Lake Perris not far from Los Angeles, which was A LOT of fun but the area was wide open and quite sparse. I wanted to experience being more within the mountains, to hopefully come across some wildlife and maybe even a BEAR! Yes, I may be a modern day Snow White but the badass version;)
I did some research of the area to figure out where might be the best place to settle our tent in the area and I finally decided on Lodgepole Campground. I always read reviews for everything and they were really positive. There is more than one campground in the area you can reserve and explore. I solidified our camping spot online to pitch our tent for $30 a day and we were ready to go! We packed up our car with not an inch left of space, put on a favorite playlist and our road trip began. Driving door to door is about 4 hours from Los Angeles (3 hours to the base of the mountain and 1 hour to weave our way around up to the campground). Chanel is a service dog so of course she goes with us everywhere and she loves nature as much as I do! Pets are not allowed on the trails so keep that in mind.
As we started to reach our destination and had spent nearly half an hour winding up and around the mountain, we were suddenly surrounded by Giant Sequoia trees and both Nina and I couldn't believe our eyes. It was the first time we had seen trees so BIG and BEAUTIFUL, so we had to pull over and stop. A storm seemed to be coming out of nowhere but we didn’t care. I couldn't resist giving one a hug. I strongly believe we can draw energy from trees and nature and spiritual connection is key for me to obtain the ultimate experience. I felt like I had come home :)
This place so far has been one of my favorite areas to camp and disappear from the grind of the "real world". Cell service doesn't work so you are forced to disconnect from your phone, which trust me is a blessing for both myself and Nina. Spending our days exploring, building campfires, cooking outdoors, the smells, being surrounded by life and everything that is pure and natural day and night, makes my heart skip a beat. I long for these moments, I cherish them and I will always seek to be apart of this world in its natural form.
Nina: The best way for me to describe our experience camping at Sequoia National park is, it it like living in a painting. The Giant Sequoias tower above you and you cannot help but be in wonder at their beauty, strength and ability to survive for thousands of years. For a novice camper I was also thrilled it all felt quite civilized even though we were in the middle of nowhere. There is a restaurant and convenience store that has everything you may need if you run out or forgot something, including camping gear and wood for purchase to make your fire. . Hot running water in the showers (coin operated so make sure to bring quarters or you can hopefully get change from the convenience store) and toilets with running water, scattered around in convenient spots for all the campers to use. This is as natural as I would like to go as far as camping. Into the wild but not completely out of touch with basic amenities is perfect for me :)
I have never experienced a brighter, blanket of stars as I did here. It was truly my first time around complete darkness, except for seeing in the near distance, fellow campers fire pits glowing in the dark. Absolutely magical.
Thanks to Angelis and her savvy online shopping for our camp stove and gear, we were able to cook up wonderful meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and of course we made SMORES every night! You can't go camping and not make smores, it would be rude not to ;) This place literally took both our breaths away from start to finish and you can relax as much as you want or seek adventure by discovering the multiple hikes in the area. I did not realize that my cell service would turn off an hour before we arrived to the campground, so BE PREPARED TO SWITCH OFF! as Angelis mentions above. We intend to hopefully go back here twice in 2019 for a week each time and we will be booking our spots early as soon as they go live online. Usually booking starts in May and spots sell out very quickly.
Angelis and Nina: If you are looking for a wondrous experience within nature you MUST travel and explore Sequoia National Park. Obnoxious noises you may experience if you live in a busy city, will melt away from your mind instantly. Your senses will be taken over by the smell of campfires, the noise of the water rushing along the streams, the rustling on the ground and trees of the animals that call this extraordinary place home. We recommend no less than 4 days to really have a long enough experience, but of course it is up to you and your travel plans how much time you would like to dedicate to this particular adventure. Note that the temperature drops about 30 degrees Fahrenheit from the base of the mountain to towards the top, because we were elevated about 7000 meters above sea level if you seek a higher campground. The nights can aslo get really chilly so you may need layers and hand warmers depending on the time of year. Always check the forecast leading up to the trip. Regarding hugging a tree. We highly recommend it! A fun fact: Hugging also increases levels of hormone oxytocin, also known as the "love hormone" plus giving a hug also releases the hormones Serotonin and Dopamine that are responsible for making you happier. So whatever you believe in you should always be up for a hug. If you go and hug a Giant Sequoia send us a photo! Try to feel its energy, close your eyes and breathe in the moment and open your mind and body:)
Check out our vlogs from our camping trips on our Youtube Channel, so you can get a further taste and feel of what we are writing about :)