Saturday, 7:01 am: Backpacks are expertly packed for optimum weight distribution. We have the equivalent of a 6-year-old in food and water but have a relatively short distance to carry the load.
8:27 am: Rendezvous with camping companions and stop at Coffee Bean to load up on egg sandwiches and 20 oz coffees for the road. Caravan to Point Mugu in Malibu.
9:07 am: Hoist on backpacks in comical fashion and begin eastward ascent.
9:28 am: Cross fingers that charred, ostensibly barren landscape will turn lush and green just around the bend.
10:50 am: Come to an unclear sign directing to our campsite; speculate as to the intention of the person who scratched in an arrow. Punk-ass joker or benevolent do-gooder?
11:15 am: Reach campsite, already occupied by rowdy young gents. Breath sigh of relief when they pack up and leave so we have the whole place to ourselves. Situate and spread out.
12:13 pm: Hammock. Flask. Snacks on snacks.
3:10 pm: Explore the area above the campsite and climb a ridge overlooking Ventura. Walk over crunchy scorched earth, breeze through the empty space left by the hundreds of burned down trees and tall grass. Only the sturdiest of succulents remain.
5:10 pm: Theo teaches us a funny Russian card game called Durak.
6:02 pm: Gather some kindling for fire. Chop up the charred remnants of a picnic table for wood.
7:19 pm: Try out brand new MSR stove and cooking set. Success!
8:45 pm: Ben searches in vain for the stick he’d painstakingly whittled into the perfect marshmallow roasting device. Mourns and moves on. S’mores ‘n’ s’mores ‘n’ s’mores. Linger by fire until out of fuel.
9:26 pm: Bed time.
1:42 am: Wake up to the noise of some animal walking near our tent. I imagine a raccoon, possum, or maybe one of those “alot” creatures from Hyperbole and a Half.
Sunday, 7:13 am: Sun is an effective alarm clock. Find I am not sleepy at all but lay there for a while anyway since I’m in no hurry.
9:02 am: Pack up and stuff trash into a trashcan liner, which is surprisingly full. Begin trek back to civilization with its toilets, TV and Korean barbecue.