A silver Explorer packed to the ceiling with bulky bags and four college sophomores took us on an adventure. What started as a far-fetched dream with Kim became a true reality with Gio & Joe along for the ride too! We camped at Andrew Molera State park two nights and spent another night glamping at the beach house in Aptos.
Monday included leaving campus around 8:30 or 9 instead of 7:30. We went to Safeway where we bought all carbs for our camping food. No cooler necessary. Then we hit up Starbucks for Breakfast. Jamming out too much and enjoying life caused us to drive too far down the valley before making a U-Turn to meet up with highway 1. Eventually we made it. Picked a campsite. Made three trips back and forth from the parking lot to the car. And home was made: In a field, at site 18, with a behemoth tent. We then hung out at the beach for a serene time skipping stones, wading in the water, finding sticks, reading books, napping and feeling FREE. Night brought pasta for dinner and “bedtime” right after sunset. But most importantly, ignoring bedtime. Instead, we gave our attention to the most brilliant night sky I had seen in quite a while. I can’t even begin to explain how at peace and content I felt in that moment, lying on top of the picnic table gazing up at the limitless stars and darkness. What’s interesting is, as the night sky forced us to feel small and meaningless, the moments taking it all in became more meaningful.
Tuesday brought true roughin’ it experiences. We had pancakes for breakfast before embarking on our nine (turned ten) mile hike. For the first half of the loop, we took the steep way up along the coast. My burning legs thanked me for the wake-up call, and my brain couldn’t get enough of the incredible ocean views to our right at all times. After making it to the top and scarfing sandwiches, we trekked down through the forest. On the way down, it started sprinkling rain. The rain picked up right when we started guessing how to get back to our campsite. Comfortably damp and tired, we made it back after some wingin’ it and making our own lyrics to Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor.” Rain continued. We played cards and “cooked” our pasta under the cover of our tent’s awning. Later that night when the rain let up we made a fire. When the old, married couple went to sleep, we watched the fire burn down. Our neighbors’ accordion and lyrical jam fit the scene too well. We talked about life and let the simplicity of the setting force us to think meaningfully, but without pressure. How ideal it was, sitting by a fire and letting ourselves be more vulnerable than usual. The night was too welcoming and the conversations were too necessary.
Wednesday brought a downpour. And packing up in the downpour. And making three trips to the car in the downpour. And soaking ourselves and our shoes and feet and everything. But we survived. #roughinit. We made it back to society and eventually Santa Cruz where we ate “Burger.” for lunch. Mmmm. The afternoon treated us well, with showers, hot-tubbing, relaxing, and drying everything in the sun. Who knew there were so many friendly people walking dogs to talk to? ….And when I say “talking to” I mean talking about and pet their dogs! It’s the little things. I also appreciated the comfortable silence that filled the air during their naptime and our time to unwind. People talk too much. Company is all we really need sometimes. The evening treated us even better than the afternoon. We broke the bank with our grocery trip to Safeway, but as a result felt like classy thirty year-olds eating steak, veggies, and fruit salad for dinner. All with AMAZING nineties jams playing from the radio. We then ate ice cream and watched Despicable Me while glamping in the living room. The two of us on the couch fell asleep during the movie. And the rest was history.
Thursday brought beach-chill-perfection and wishing adventures would never end. We woke up, walked to the coffee shop, got drinks, then walked all the way down to the ship ruins. The walk balk left us hungry and ready for our brunch: Fruit salad and eggs scrambled with leftover veggies and steak. Mmmm. After eating, all of us but Kim went to the beach and enjoyed some frisbee, skim-boarding, and chilly water. Apparently I’m a natural at skim-boarding since I didn’t fall! Once the beach got cloudy and chilly, we hot-tubbed. And then packed up and cleaned up. And left. Just like that. We drove over the mountain, our perfect radio stations became too fuzzy to stand, and we settled back into the reality of the last weekend of break. For me, that meant relaxing, and working, on campus.
Times that seemed too perfect.
Friends I wouldn’t trade for the world.