Our adventure family meet up is just a few weeks away! I’m really excited, and a bit nervous! The kids and I are heading off on a road trip until the end of Labor Day, so I’m posting this now so everyone can make plans for the weekend adventure. (Note: From Aug 28-Sept 5, I will have very limited cell phone coverage. I will respond to IG and Facebook messages when I’m back in LA on Sept 7th. If you have any questions or suggestions, please send me a DM on Instagram or a message on Facebook!)
What: 1st Annual Adventure Family Meet-up
When: Sept 16-18 (Fri-Sun)
Where: McGill Campground, Cuddy Valley Road, Los Padres National Forest (near Frazier Park)
Directions: From I-5, take Frazier Park exit (Frazier Mountain Park Road), go west approximately 6 miles. The road name changes to Cuddy Valley Road. Continue on it up Mt. Pinos. The road name changes to Mt. Pinos Highway. McGill Campground is approximately 5 miles further on the north (right) side of road. There’s a big sign. Can’t miss it.
Cell Phone Coverage: Spotty, probably none at the campsite.
Facilities: Vault toilets. No running water! (We’re roughing it folks)
Weather: It should be mid-70s during the day, and down into low 50s at night. Brrrr.
More About McGill Campground
I have no idea! OK, I sort of know. I’ve discovered that Instagram is not a great platform to plan an event like this, but according my latest communication with everyone, there are about 20-25 families coming! So fun! If you have friends that want to join, you don’t need to ask, just bring them. We’ll find the space.
When to Come
The kids and I will be at the camp site Thursday night around 7pm. I’m getting there early to reserve a few extra campsites near the main group site. Feel free to come up Thursday night if you want. Some folks have asked if it’s OK to just come Friday night or Saturday night. Yes of course that’s fine. If you can only make it up for the day on Saturday or Sunday, that’s OK too!
When you arrive at the campground, drive around the loop to Group Site #1 to sign in. I’ll be at the site all day on Friday, so come anytime. (If you come up on Thursday night, I’ll be at one of the small sites next to Group Site #1.) I will have a sign up table set up, with name tags. Yes, name tags! Most of us just know each other by our Instagram handles. Plus I’m terrible with names. It will fun for kids to learn everyone’s names too. (I can hear it now, “Oh you must be DayTripsLA’s son!”)
Each group site has it’s own parking. Group Site #1 has a small parking lot that holds about 12 cars. Groups Site #2 can hold about 6-8 cars. And there’s parking at each of the family sites for 1-2 cars if we need them. There’s also an overflow parking lot near the entrance of the campground. So no need to carpool!
The campground is pretty great. Trails, trees, sun, and shade. I’ve reserved both of the group campsites for the weekend. According to the website, the two site combined can accommodate 120 people but I’m not sure about that. I will grab a few more family sites close to Group Site #1 if they are free so we can spread out a bit. The family sites can accommodate two cars and 2-3 tents. I do not have assigned campsites for each of you. We’ll just play it by ear as people arrive. If you plan to sleep, you might not want to be in Group Site #1. Between the two group sites and a few individual sites, we will have plenty of space. Groups Site #1 will be the hub, but all the sites sites are just a short walk apart.
What’s the Weekend Itinerary
Normally on a camping trip when the kids ask what we’re going to do, I say “nothing”. Our adventure entertainment usually unfolds organically depending on where we are. With 50-60 kids running loose in the woods, I don’t think we’ll need to do much to entertain them. I only have one real event planned — a group hike to the top of Mt Pinos on Saturday. The trailhead is a short drive up the road, and the hike is a very family-friendly 2-mile walk to the top of the mountain. We can all pack a picnic lunch and eat up there Saturday afternoon.
I’ll post a general schedule for meals and campfires at the campsite, but it will be pretty casual. If you have games for the kids, musical instruments for campfire time, or anything else you think is fun, please bring it. My main form of entertainment is going to be just meeting and talking with everyone. And eating. I will share some additional thoughts about stuff to do and safety and how stoked I am see everyone at the Friday night campfire.
What to Bring
At a minimum, you’ll need to bring a tent, ground cloth, sleeping pads, and warm sleeping bags. And camp chairs, kitchen stuff, flashlights and headlamps. There are a few folks joining who haven’t camped before. If you have questions about gear, send me a DM on IG. If you need help setting stuff when you arrive, just ask.
It will be cool at night and in the mornings. Bring warm jackets/layers and hats, and maybe even gloves. I always bring rain jackets too but if it rains I’m going to be very unhappy. Hiking shoes, sneakers, hats, windbreaker (for the hike) and a day pack fro you and the kids. Water bottles.
Lots of questions about food. With so many people coming, and no way to communicate with everyone easily, I think it’s best if we all fend for ourselves. So bring a cooler with ice, what you want to eat, and what you want to cook it in. There are big grills and tables at the group sites, so we can all cook and eat together. If you want to bring something to share like fruit/veggies or cookies or snacks or something else amazing you made, that would be great. And s’mores, don’t forget about s’mores. If you have a great camp stove and fuel, bring it. Food and snacks for a picnic lunch during our Saturday hike would be good. If you get really desperate there’s a pizza place and grocery store about 20 minutes down the hill.
There is NO RUNNING WATER at this campsite, not even in the bathrooms. You must bring your own water for drinking and washing up.
Responsible consumption of alcohol is permitted (and probably needed). I plan to bring a few bottles of wine to share (or hoard).
Campfires are permitted within the fire rings at each site. The fire danger is always high so be careful please.
I’m not sure if there’s firewood for sale at the site, so PLEASE bring a bundle or two. And we’ll need charcoal for the grill. If you have one of those easy-up tent shade things, bring that too. Board games, cards, books for the kids. Anyone who plans an arts & crafts project for the kids will receive a gold star and Instagram likes from me for life. Please NO ELECTRONICS for the kids. If I see your child with an iPhone wandering around the forest looking for Pokeman, you will be publicly shamed and put on clean up duty. Also no weapons like Nerf guns either please.
Yay, Instagram! I will create a list of everyone who comes so we can all follow each other after the meet-up and be virtual acquaintances forever. Tag your pics from the trip with #daytripsla2016 so we can see all our pics in one place.
All kidding aside, after virtually snooping around in each others lives for so long on Instagram, I am really looking forward to us all finally meeting in person. I am hoping this meet-up becomes an annual tradition, and that the friendships we and the children make in September will continue in real life.
Lastly, I’d like to thank my sponsors for making this event possible. Oh wait, that’s right, I have no sponsors.