Sunday, May 30, 2021

Camping at Caswell Memorial State Park

Memorial day was coming and we, and two of our close friends - Divya, Dwarak, Harini and Vijay, booked a campground in Caswell Memorial State Park for a night! This is a short blog on the campground and the experience 

Before we get into the actual camping trip, and if you just want to know how we planned the trip and what worked for us, here are a few points

  • Book a campground via reservecalifornia. Most campgrounds allow a max of two cars. So book the number of campgrounds based on the number of families/cars
  • Find a campsite not too far away from where you live. 2 hrs is a good distance to drive for camping. This helps in general planning.
  • Plan ahead your tea, dinner, breakfast and lunch ahead. In this camping, we carried our dinner with us, an order from chaat bhavan, so that there is less cooking at the campsite the day we arrive. For breakfast our options were quick things like maggi, nutella sandwiches and cereal. And since we were packing up at 12, we decided to have lunch once we reach home. 
  • Things to carry. Highly advice you to make this list ahead and plan with all in the group for a good camping experience. Each list could be different based on what you plan for camping.
    • for the group - based on the menu, we had a list of things like a few pots, pans, stove, tea, coffee, milk, curd, snacks, food items that we had to carry along with propane gas for the stove etc
    • for your self - lantern, tents, sleeping bags, comforter, pillows, brush, a few extra clothes (based on how many days and if it involves water activities or not). Carry enough comforter and blankets to keep you comfortable.
  • Starter wood for camp fire.
  • Group size, in general I have heard that logistics of planning a camping trip with large group is generally a bit more complicated than smaller groups. I have only gone for camping twice so far and both has been with group of 3.

Caswell Memorial is a short drive from the Bay Area, around 90 miles - 1.5 hrs. But on Memorial weekend it takes longer. We were diverted to a single lane road alternative to 580. It was beautiful to drive through it with wine yards as our view, but this adds another hour to the drive. We started around 3:00 PM and we reached the campground close to 5:45. The three families all of us reached around the same time, what perfect timing!

We had two camp spots booked. Looking at both the spots we decided to stick to the bigger spot where we could set up all our tents. They allow only two cars / spot. So we parked the third car on the the other spot.

The first 30 minutes was spent exploring the creek nearby and setting up the tent and other stuff. The campsite felt very private and shaded enough. It came with a locker for food, a picnic table and the fire-pit. The set up did not take much time, and soon we were in a mood to relax and enjoy.

Campsite 38

Our first priority was to make tea and enjoy it with the yummy Bhel puri and Dabeli that we ordered from Chaat Bhavan in Dublin. The guys and kids went to explore the river more while we girls enjoyed the hot tea and snacks. After the kids came back, some of them needed a bath. We figured out that there is paid showers and the kids had a quick shower. The restrooms were very close to the campsite and convenient and very neat.There was also a water spout for washing vessels etc near by too. Carrying some change in quarters for the shower will be a good idea.

After this, we heated up the food we ordered from Chaat Bhavan (parathas,curries) for dinner, and enjoyed it. The night went on with conversations, dumb charades, fun campfire questions, managing kids, and having s’mores around the fire. We called it a day around 12:15 am and settled into our tents.

Around the campfire

I woke up around 3 am, because I felt it was a bit chilly. Ours was a 9 person tent, and we had not fully hooked it to the ground and hence the chill air was getting through the opening. It was not unbearable because the night was pretty ok but still a bit chilly for my comfort level. I also felt an additional comforter would have been good. Tara later woke us up for a restroom trip around 5:45 am and then I just decided to not go back to sleep.

Myself and Tara walked around the park for a bit and then also went to the stream behind our campsite. We came back and slowly everyone started waking up. Then we made coffee and I think for me having that morning coffee with conversation surrounded with nature was amazing! For breakfast, we had hot Maggi noodles, bread-banana and nutella. 

We took the children again to the stream to play for an hour while the guys packed up the campsite. The swimsuits that we packed came in handy. The kids had a lot of fun.Pranav did not venture too much into the water, but the rest of them did. We girls also took some fun pics and enjoyed sitting there watching the kids. After a quick hot shower for all the kids, we played a quick round of badminton, just because we had got the badminton set, and took some last minute pics and parted our ways back to Bay Area.

We all enjoyed our time in Caswell, and looking forward to the next one! This was a short and sweet camping trip!

Early morning near the stream. Silence was beautiful

Kids enjoying the stream

early morning snap

The gang!
Girl Gang!