All my husband wanted for Father’s Day was to go camping for the weekend. He planned the location and we got to prepare for the trip. We would have Emily with us so we decided to take the trailer. It was also going to be warm so having the AC inside the trailer would be nice. Planning and preparation for camping take time and energy. Camping with Emily adds additional prep time and challenges. I planned the meals. I shopped and packed everything we would need for 4 days “off the grid”.
We planned to stay at a site in Alabama Hills. Somehow we missed the turn and kept driving up the road. The road got narrower and windier as we climbed. There was no place to turn around and we ended up at the base camp for Mount Whitney. We had no choice but to drive through the loop to get back in the right direction. Todd got the trailer through the loop safely to the dismay of hikers watching the madness. There were only a few inches between the back of the trailer and several trees. It was a scary and hair-raising 10 minutes. The drive took a toll on both the truck brakes and my nerves.
Thirty minutes later we made the correct turn into Alabama Hills. It is a beautiful place and I cannot wait to go back during cooler weather. The rock formations and surroundings are beautiful. Alabama Hills has been the setting for over 400 films including Gladiator, Django Unchained, Iron Man, and Man of Steel. The rock formations are incredible and it is easy to see why they would be the desired location for so many films.
We were all set up by sunset. We did not realize we needed a permit to cook outside until we got there. After our long drive, I was not up to getting back into the car to go get one. It was also too hot to cook inside. We ended up having a dinner that consisted of Triscuits and watermelon. Emily feasted on her favorite PBJ. Emily went to sleep easily which was great. Todd and I were tired and asleep by 10 pm.
We were awakened by a fellow camper at 1:30 am. That was jarring. He said there was a fire over the hill. Todd assessed and determined we were safe. We did not have any service so I could not reach out to anyone or check the news. Todd was able to go back to sleep with these circumstances. I was not. My mind was racing with “what if” thoughts. You know the ones. What if we should leave? What if we have to evacuate quickly and we have trouble getting Emily out? I worked at settling my mind as I watched lightning strike in stereo all around. I have never seen so many lightning strikes hit the ground. It was both scary and amazing to watch.
Emily was up at 5:30 and Todd got up so I could get a little sleep. At 8:30 am the sheriff came to tell us the area was under mandatory evacuation now. He told us we had 15 minutes. Todd explained we have a special needs child and we would never be ready that fast. He was receptive to Todd’s request. We packed up in record time and moved to a site a few miles down the road and across the 395. There was nothing pretty about our new site which was next to hills that are mined for dolomite. What is dolomite anyway? I will Google that later. It must require lots of heat to form because it was a good 10 to 15 degrees hotter at the new site.
We spent the next 48 hours mostly inside the trailer with the AC cranking watching Emily delight in doing nothing. She was a Happy Camper as they say. It reached 115 on Saturday afternoon and the wind was intense at times. We were safe in our bubble trying to will the trailer to cooler to maintain a temp lower than 85 degrees and praying the generator would keep chugging along.
Todd got what he wanted for Father’s Day. He got to camp. Was it the ideal trip? Not exactly, but it was an adventure. From taking our trailer where trailers are not supposed to go, to getting evacuated due to fires, we will not forget this trip. We made some memories as a family and isn’t that what life is all about anyway?