A few weeks ago our good friend Keri invited us to come camping at Point Mugu State Park in Malibu. It’s been a while since we’ve camped, so we signed on instantly. Being that I haven’t camped during the winter in a while, I was stoked for some cold-weather adventures; bundled up brisk hikes, warm spiked cider by the fire and one too many s’mores. Plus, Malibu is a hop, skip and a jump away, no long hours in the car required. So last Saturday, after Daniel and I watched the Galaxy win the MLS Cup at the Home Depot Center, we hopped in the car and prepared for our quick trip to Malibu. And of course, the one weekend we decide to go camping is the one weekend it decides to rain in LA.
We drove up the coast in the rain and finally got to the campground around 6:00pm. Everyone had already been there for a few hours, so we were the last to unload and pitch our tent. Which is what we tried to do until I realized I’d forgotten the poles. Typical of many a family camping adventures (forgetting the poles is an honored Hastings tradition), we were stuck improvising. Luckily there was a tree nearby, and I had some bungee cords in the back of the car. Keri’s friend Matt offered to climb the tree and figure out a way to secure the thing. By some stroke of unforeseen genius the night before, I also put two rain tarps in the car. Without those tarps, Keri, Daniel and I would have slept in a puddle. Instead, we slept in this (with only a few minor puddles to report):
After the tent was up, we drank a few beers while Molly prepared us the best chili I’ve ever eaten in my entire life (Disclaimer: I only recently started liking chili, but even if I had been eating it my whole life, I’m sure I’d still regard this as one of the best). Turns out, Molly is a chef-extraordinaire, and we chowed down under a hanging tarp as rain drops walloped overhead.
After a few more beers, some lively conversation and a little ‘mallow roasting, we retired to our soggy tent. And after a surprisingly decent nights sleep, we awoke dryer than we thought we would. On a trip to the bathroom I noticed a sign that advertised free coffee at the campground host’s campsite. Desperately in need of a cup (it’s a problem), Keri, Daniel and I headed over and met Janice and Papa, the sweetest little campsite hosts you ever did meet. We sat and sipped as Janice told stories of living all over the country in their trusty RV, how this was their 6th winter in Malibu, how their good friend received 3 purple hearts in WWII, how her mother survived the Great Depression, and how their dog, Spike, was so tiny that he needed a bigger name to showcase his true valor. I don’t think I’ve ever received more info in one 15 minute conversation than I did that day with Janice and Papa. One day, maybe I can be the Janice to Daniel’s Papa. We’d be lucky to live such an active and rich life full of travel. But for the time being, we had Janice and Papa’s coffee and seasoned memories. Good enough, I’d say.
After coffee, we took a hike up to the viewpoint to see the extended Malibu coastline. Keri and the gang had done it the day before and said the view was spectacular, but of course, it started raining harder than it had all weekend during our first trip up. After some slipping and sliding, we made our way to the top, and Tim handed each of us a PBR for our valiant efforts. As we stood and sipped, observing the foggy coastline, Molly and Tim reenacted the kissing rain scene from The Notebook. It was pretty spot on, for a couple of drenched kids with PBR’s in their hands.
We had a great weekend reconnecting with nature up in Malibu, and Point Mugu is a beautiful place to set up shop. If you’re ever in the area, cruise up PCH and make your way to this great little campsite. Just remember to bring your poles.