2020 inspired me to hike
As 2020 put everything on pause, my dreams of traveling to new foreign countries did as well. I wanted to get out as much as possible but with months of stillness, I realized like many other Americans, that the great outdoors was just a drive away. CA is my favorite states, not only because I live here but because there are so many National Parks you can visit. After much deliberation, 2020 was the beginning of my journey back to nature with my friends and family as we hiked, camped and packed with mother earth.
I'll make posts about each specific trip, this will be just to share some big camping tips I learned.
1. A National Park Pass is a must. Each entry is about $50 but if you end up going to more than one than spending the extra $40 is well worth it. I ended up visiting about 9 parks in 2020.
2. Camping supplies: require trial and error. I learned from each trip things that worked and didn't work for me
Camping bins: This was something I learned is very common in the camping community, it helps with organization, water proofing. and packing. I have two big bins that are able to sit on my roof rack. One bin is for cooking that has my portable stove, trash can, table cover, fire starters, pots, pans, grills, and condiments. The other bin holds misc things such as head lamps, lanterns, first aid/ emergencies, board games, hammock, knifes, and anything else we may need.
Paper plates and cups: As much as I loved reusing our cute little metal plates/ cups some camping areas did not have wash bins making washing almost impossible.
Air mattress/ memory foam topper: I personally prefer the memory foam topper that I keep inside a vacuum sealed bag. Not only is it easy to set up but makes sleeping on the ground soundless (for me, definitely not for everyone.)
Tents: I have a pop up tent that has made my life super easy. It's not the biggest but with all of my organization our whole set up when arriving to camp is about 15 mins. I also have a small 2 set up incase we have extra people coming to join us.
Headlamps: Not much to explain here.... super nesscary when camping.
Trash bin: I bought this small laundry bin that folds up that I use as a trash bag, I just put a plastic bag inside. This seems kinda dumb but when you have a them hanging up they tend to fall along with the trash and this just makes life way easier.
Fire starters: With firewood starting a fire and keeping it going can be a tricky, I would save get a long lighter, some lighter fluid and lastly and most importantly fire starters. Huge thanks to this youtuber I saw online, but these DIY firestarters are super cheap and super good. You get cotton balls and put them in a ziplong bag and then mix them with petroleum jelly. They basically become little candles that slow burn making your camp fire start and get going a whole lot sooner. This was a huge game changer and now only takes me about 5 mins to get a fire going. You may think the lighter fluid is enough but sometimes that burns off before you can get the wood burnering. This ensures an even light.
Camp stove: I didn't realize how cheap these can be but I found one with fuel for about $30. Sometimes fires are restricted and if all your food is dependent on fire then you're sort of stuck. This also is helpful when you don't want to spend an extra few minutes getting the fire going.
Cooler: Freeze your water bottles, not only do you have cold water when you arrive but you pay less for ice.
3. Last but not least, download maps. When you're out in the middle of nowhere there is no signal and you don't want to be stuck not having any idea where you are. I usually download my driving directions on google maps and then download the hiking maps on all trails (not a free app but worth it.)
Overall, 2020 allowed me to realized what really matters in life, and what happiness could be. I was in a toxic relationship that stopped providing what I was looking for but I couldn't admit to myself. I couldn't admit out loud I was no longer happy and in 2020 while everything was silent, I could finally hear myself and what my needs were, and what I truly wanted. I ended the 5 year relationship and was instantly happy. I began doing more of what I wanted to do with people who actually made me happier, and I started to focus on myself.
The year was filled with some kick ass adventures and some kickass new projects. As I began traveling across the county and seeing different parks I also learned there was still so much to see in my own backyard and I wish more people could discover this. The US is endless and filled with so many beautiful sights that are quietly hidden in nature. I'm glad I was able to see this after being so busy for so many years, and nature helped me heal on a completely new level.