I decided to try out my birthday gifts (tent and sleeping bag, thank you Josh) with an overnight camping trip. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is in the mountains east of San Diego. The camping area is large and shady, with helpful staff and clean restrooms.
After setting up and having lunch, I was ready for a hike, and Stonewall Peak, being right across the road, called my name.
The view was lovely. That's Lake Cuyamaca in the background.
Back at camp, I got a fire going and cooked Grilled Tofu with Red Wine/Mushroom Sauce, accompanied by grilled asparagus and zucchini, and enjoyed it in the evening glow, before settling in for an early night.
Things I learned on my first camping trip:
1. My 2-person tent is not big enough for two people. Not unless they are very small and/or very close friends. My single airbed filled the tent all by itself. Luckily I was the sole occupant.
2. If the airbed seems to be taking way too long to fill, the air inlet is probably touching the ground. Turn it so the air can get in. Duh.
3. My fuel stove needs a wind guard.
4. My silicone pot grabbers are awkward to use. Bring a regular pot holder or two.
5. The grill on the fire pit is likely to be small and dirty. Bring my own. A big one.
6. Bring a pair of shoes that are easy to put on in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit. Hiking boots are not.
7. If the tent site has a slope, even a very slight one, orient the tent so your head is at the highest point. I lay parallel to the slope and gravity tried to roll me off my airbed several times.
8. Bring more layers/bedding than you think you'll need. Shivering all night is no fun at all. Don't rely on hot flashes to keep you warm. They might not.
So yeah, it was cold, probably high 30s (it was 43°F at 7:30 AM). And it rained all night, which I hadn't expected or prepared for. When I got up, I didn't feel like battling wet firewood to make breakfast, so decided to strike camp and head for the desert sunshine in Anza Borrego State Park.
But minor inconveniences aside, I loved camping! I'll take the lessons learned to make the next trip a little more comfortable. For there's certainly going to be a next time.