The 2nd Annual Adventure Family Meet Up is just about two months away! I’m really excited, and a bit nervous (again)! About 20 families showed up for the 1st Annual, and it was so fun meeting everyone for the first time. The kids had a blast, all 50 of them! Lots of folks couldn’t make it in September last year bc of school, so trying a summer weekend this time around.
What: 2nd Annual Adventure Family Meet-up
When: July 14-16 (Fri-Sun)
Where: McGill Campground, Cuddy Valley Road, Los Padres National Forest (near Frazier Park)
Cost: $20 per family
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, maybe some at the campsite.
Facilities: Vault toilets. No running water! (We’re roughing it folks)
Weather: It should be about 80 during the day, and down into the 50s at night.
More About McGill Campground
Not sure, you tell me! I’ve discovered that Instagram is not a great platform to plan an event like this, but I’m dealing with it. You can reach me on Facebook or by email firstname.lastname@example.org too. According my latest communication with everyone, there are about 25 families coming. If you have friends that want to join, let me know and we’ll find the space.
When to Come
The kids and I will be at the campsite 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! I have one of the group sites reserved Sunday night if you want to stay late Sunday or until Monday morning.
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! Many 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.
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.
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. 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 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 kids running loose in the woods, we don’t need to do much to entertain them. Last year we made a fort and set up a slack line, and that was it. 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, art supplies, 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, and firewood. There are a few folks joining who haven’t camped before. If you have questions about gear, send me a DM on IG or Facebook or email. If you need help setting stuff when you arrive, just ask.
It should be cool at night and in the mornings. Bring warm jackets/layers and hats. 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. Last year there was a fire ban, but we should be able to have a campfire this year.
PLEASE bring a bundle of firewood. And you’ll need charcoal if you’re grilling. If you have one of those easy-up tent shade things, bring that too. Please NO ELECTRONICS for the kids. Also no weapons like Nerf guns either please.
Hand-Me-Down Kids Gear Exchange
Last year we talked about bringing our old kids gear that needs a new home. We will have kids coming from age 2 to 16. Shoes, jackets, hats, gloves, and any other gear you have sitting in your garages and closets.
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 #daytripsla2017 so we can see all our pics in one place.
I am really looking forward to us all meeting in person after virtually snooping around in your lives. I am hoping this meet-up becomes an annual tradition for many of us, and that the friendships we and the children make in July will continue in real life.