Life · Marriage · Parenthood · Travel · Zero to Hero - 30 Day Challenge

Lights Out!

What an experience these past 4 days turned out to be!

When my husband told me he had booked us a cabin for our camping trip, this is what I envisioned in my mind

Image courtesy of Google search. What I envisioned in my mind when I heard the word "cabin"
Image courtesy of Google search.

Not so much all the nice furniture, but definitely along the lines of electricity, heating system, and although I didn’t go so far as imagine a fridge and cooking area, I was content with just knowing there would be electricity and heat. Especially since January weather in Santa Ana can be a lot warmer than weather deep within the mountains and surrounded by trees.

When we arrived at the camp site my husband stopped to talk with the Camp Host and discovered that although we had reserved the only cabin with electricity, because it was twice as big and since it was only the 3 of us, he recommended we stay in one of the smaller cabins because while it wouldn’t have electricity (yes, you’re reading this correctly, no electricity) it would warm up faster since it’s smaller. So this is what we got instead. For four days…with a toddler…and two adults that tend to feel chilly in 70 degree weather – HAHA.

Our little cabin, which measured probably 10 x 10.
Our little cabin, which measured maybe about 10 x 10 on the inside.

When I posted this picture on Facebook, one of my cousin’s said it was so cute, that it looked like a playhouse. It felt like one too.

Left side of the cabin. Yes, the pack 'n play served as our daughter's bed. Worked like a charm!
Left side of the cabin. Yes, the pack ‘n play served as our daughter’s bed. Worked like a charm!

Our daughter assisting my husband in starting the (very small) stove fire.

The right side of our cabin. Our daughter is seen here assisting my husband in starting the (very small) stove fire.

And I have to admit, it did feel really cozy and cute at first, and before it got dark (and cold) I thought to myself, this is pretty cool and a different experience. But then it did get very dark and cold, and the thing is, have you ever tried lighting a fire in a small stove? It’s not as easy as what you might imagine, it takes time and patience and providing the proper combination of oxygen and wood to get the fire going and then once you do get it going, well maintaining the fire, that’s just another effort within itself. Just ask my husband. And while it is true that once the fire was going (which took quite a while) it did eventually warm up the entire cabin (because it was so small) but then at night my husband had to wake up every couple of hours to make sure the fire was still going so we wouldn’t freeze. Also, remember I said no electricity? Well we didn’t even have flashlights on us that first night. So we were cold and in the dark with our phones that had no service and our iPad with the zombie game. And then there was the beds. Basically just two hard wooden bunk beds which we had to provide our own bedding for so we took our camping mattresses and one of our sleeping bags that zips fully open and used that as a base on top of our mattresses and then a comforter that we used to cover ourselves. The first night I slept in my jeans, long sleeved shirt, and sweater because I was just too darn cold to want to undress and put on my PJ’s. Although on the bright side, our little girl, boy is she a trooper. She was warm and cozy and all bundled up and slept as deep as if she was in her own crib at home. Needless to say, our nights were a bit restless. My husband wasn’t getting much sleep and even though I wasn’t getting up to keep the fire going (thank God haha) I would wake up anyway from the noise/movement. Despite all that though, we did have a really great time.

On our second day there we went into the town of Julian (which I will talk more about in another post) and took a tour of Eagle Mine 1870. This was by far one of the coolest experiences. We got to go deep into the mine, to the point that I was thankful I didn’t suffer from claustrophobia. It was fascinating to hear how the men worked the mine back in 1870 when it first started and we were just in awe of the conditions they worked in and how they made these mines run so deep with the tools they had and just with the guidance of a small lit candle. Here’s a couple pictures I had on my phone.

Getting to explore inside Eagle Mine, 1870.
Getting to explore inside Eagle Mine, 1870.
Cool cars
Cool cars near the mine.

Now the other downside to having no electricity or appliances for that matter is that we had to eat out a lot. The first night we ate at a restaurant in Julian that was a bit overpriced but had the most delicious apple pie I have ever had, and I am not a fan of apple pie, but boy just thinking back to that slice makes me want to be there all over again. If you’re an apple pie lover, and nearby the town of Julian one day, I highly recommend you stop by and have a slice – or actually do yourself a favor and buy a whole pie!

The following day we had breakfast at a restaurant nearby our camp site which was okay so we decided to give it another shot and have dinner there. I got the Fish Fry which did not disappoint, and when it came time for dessert since I was still in the honeymoon phase from the previous nights delicious experience, I decided we needed to order another slice of apple pie – with ice cream of course. We had each maybe taken one bite of the pie, which sadly just didn’t quite compare to the one I had had in Julian the night before, when I reached for my second bite of ice cream and noticed something got caught onto my fork. I thought it was something from the pie and then realized as I pulled on it that it was actually a very long white/blond hair!!!! Ewwwwwww!!!!! Needless to say we did not finish that pie or go back to that restaurant. With that very gross experience still very fresh in our minds, the next morning we set about our day again and as we drove out of our camping site we asked the rangers if they had a restaurant they could recommend for breakfast, but perhaps in the opposite direction of Julian since we had already been there. So the ranger told us about Veronica’s Kitchen in the town of Descanso. Well, let me tell you, that sure took our mind’s off the hair in the apple pie slice! Veronica’s Kitchen served fresh made to order Mexican and American food and not only was it good but it was also a fairly decent price. Plus the ladies there were so nice and friendly, we had a great experience there. We ended up ordering lunch and dinner to go!

Veronica's Kitchen, delicious food we were recommended to visit. Located in the town Descanso.
Veronica’s Kitchen, delicious food we were recommended to visit. Located in the town Descanso.

So I forgot to mention that on our second day there my husband did some searching in his car and found 3 small little hand held flash lights that came in very handy when night fell on our cabin. While it was nothing like the convenience of just switching on a light switch, the light those little flashlights provided sure did make a difference. The last night we were in our cabin I played some of the music that was on my phone and Celeste was dancing around the cabin happy as can be and I thought to myself, this is turning out to be a pretty neat experience, yes without the conveniences we so love, but filled with some pretty special moments just enjoying one another’s company and seeing our daughter having such a good time and not minding the lack of light or heat. We also had that Zombie game on our ipad so every once in awhile we’d open it up to play with our daughter and it was the funniest thing because she would just choose and plant things wherever and would get all excited when the “zombies ate our brains” and would say in a cheerful voice “we did it!” thinking the point of the game was to start all over and try again. Sometimes life is definitely about that.

I’m not going to lie though, when we woke up this morning (Sunday) I was happy knowing that in the evening we would be back at home sleeping on our comfy warm beds and knowing my husband wouldn’t have to tend to a fire in order to keep us warm. And as I cleaned up in the bathroom I could hear my daughter’s voice not too far away. When I stepped out and started to walk towards the cabin I realized that they were not too far to my right going up this moderately steeped little hill and as I saw my daughter going up that hill with her dad alongside her I thought to myself, this was all worth it just to see that image and see them enjoying that time together. Once I met up with them, my husband told me that as our daughter was climbing up she was enthusiastically saying “I’m climbing the mountain Papa!” And he said he smiled and thought to himself how for her little feet and steps this indeed was a mountain to be proud of climbing. This was the photo I captured of them at the top of the little climb.

My husband and daughter on our last day at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
My husband and daughter on our last day at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

We got a really great experience from this trip and even though we were without the convenience and comfort of electricity and instant warmth for a few days, being out there camping and seeing our daughter explore, and having that quite time together away from the daily noise and distractions was an experience I’ll never forget. And I’ll admit, one that makes me even more appreciative of the little things we often take for granted.


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