Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Overnight camping - Barton Flats

We have a few short camping trips lined up this summer and last weekend it was an overnight in Barton Flats campground, near Big Bear. It's just two hours from home, which is our limit for one night trips. The short drive means we can wake up at a normal hour on Saturday, toss stuff in the car, hit the grocery store and then be at the campground by check in time. 

wildflowers by highway 38

trail

circe hold

jenks lake

camping happy hour

evening fire

tent view

coffee

morning fire

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Campground notes: 
This is a pretty nice, well maintained campground with running water (restrooms and showers were both pretty decent). However, the sites are very hit or miss. Some are large and shady and some are tiny with very little shelter. They all have fire rings, and you can get firewood from the camp host. We stayed at site 11, which was not the best but definitely not the worst. It's right on a trail head, which was mildly annoying during the day but fine at night. If you're going, take a look at the site map and try to choose sites that are on the back of the loops, because they're furthest from Highway 38. Anything in the front of the loops will get traffic noise. Sites 37 and 38 looked particularly promising to us. 

The campground was packed and fairly noisy, FYI. I'm not complaining, because that isn't a feature of the campground itself. You roll the dice when you camp, because you're never sure what the crowd is going to be like. I swear that almost everyone here except us had multiple kids with them, so there was a LOT of noise during daylight hours, but it calmed down at night for the most part (I really wish the people who watch TV in their RVs would just stay home and leave the rest of us in peace). I think we just haven't been warm weather camping in a while, so we've gotten used to very adult, very quiet campgrounds. This is a good reminder that summer is different!

There are hiking trails right out of the campground, which is a huge plus. On Saturday we hiked up to Jenks Lake. I read (somewhere) that this was a 45 minute easy walk, and I'm not sure if I'm super out of shape or if carrying Circe (dogs are allowed on all the trails here but she was on full-on hike boycott this weekend) was wearing me out, but it felt like an effort! 

On Sunday morning we hiked part of the Santa Ana River trail, which was just gorgeous. I was wishing we had more time because I would have happily kept going for hours, but we just hiked from Barton Flats to the San Gorgonio campground. The trail is narrow, with a lot of shade, and you get beautiful views and lots of different landscapes. 

We're getting better at quick camping trips, so I tried to take a few notes this weekend so I can hopefully get a post up this week about our camping essentials and how we pack for these trips. 

13 comments:

  1. Sounds lovely, thank you for posting! Beautiful pictures of the sun rays in the trees and the mountain views from the car! Makes me want to go camping too. :)

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  2. "I really wish the people who watch TV in their RVs would just stay home". Same--why even bother to schlep to a campsite?

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  3. Hi Rachel,
    Love your photos; can I ask which tent y'all are using? We are considering upgrading from our small backpacking tent for car camping trips, as the idea of standing up to change clothes etc. is increasingly appealing. We are eyeing the REI Kingdom but haven't pulled the trigger, yet...thanks!

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    1. We have the Kingdom 4 from REI (last year's model - they did make some changes this year) and we love, love, love it. Accepting that we'll be mostly car camping for a while, and upgrading from our backpacking tent was the best camping decision we've made.

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  4. As someone who has only gone on camping trips with friends who have equipment, what would you say are your essentials for someone wanting to get their own stuff? Not for long trips, but simple trips like your overnight ones. I don't recall you having written one, but I would love a camping necessities post. It doesn't have to be hardcore, but maybe things that you enjoy using. Thanks!!

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    1. I think I'll have that post ready for Thursday!

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  5. I would be interested to hear what you pack for one night camping trips. I swear when we go I take about everything except the kitchen sink.

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    1. Hoping to have a post up about equipment on Thursday! The bad news - you need almost as much stuff for one night as you do for a week. : (

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  6. Yes, we have almost given up on summer camping because of the crowds and noise and RVs -- it is quieter to stay at our house because we are set back about half an acre from the road and our neighbor is a few acres and doesn't live at the house. The only thing that seems to work is to camp on someone's land and not in a campsite

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    1. That sounds so lovely! Wish we had that kind of land!

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  7. I can't wait to hear about your camping essentials! We're hoping to start taking short camping trips like these so I'm eager for advice :)

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    1. Yay! I should have it up on Thursday, hopefully it's helpful!

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  8. Can't wait to see your camping essentials list! Your posts over the last year or so definitely inspired us to take more short trips while we lived in Seattle (which then thoroughly bummed us out that we didn't take more opportunities to overnight camp at Mt. Rainier before we moved. It was only two hours drive, but oh well).

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