The summer months have been awesomely fun, filled with hot days stretched out on floating mattresses, late nights laughing and talking, roadtrips from the sea to the dessert, making art and art shows. Now fall has come upon us with its fresh mornings and golden leaves, and while I don’t have a single summer regret, I am a little sad I failed to squeeze in a camping trip.
So even as last week brought wet days and overcast skies, Maggie and I made our packing lists for an October weekend camping trip to Dillon Beach on the Northern California Coast.
Dillon Beach is a tradition for my family. My relatives, who live in a fish camp in Mexico half the year and travel in their RV the other half of the year, stay at Dillon Beach for the month of August. Family and friends flock to see them, and we make a large party camp filled with cute campers, tents and picnic tables that seem to always be topped with fresh-crab-eating stations. This year, though, after a death in the family, the month was cut short, and I didn’t make it to Dillon — until this past weekend.
It was a different kind of camping trip, though. We took advantage of camping by ourselves, and found more time to read, to take longer walks, to dilly-dally with our cameras in hand, and to cook without a schedule. We also mastered the campfire, the tent in high wind and, eventually, the campstove — but more about all that a little bit later.
For now, here are photos of our first day, starting with the early morning drive, complete with my Aussie-Chow, Sara, in the backseat.
When we were about halfway to the beach, the sun started peaking up behind us. I pulled off the two lane highway onto an empty country road so we could watch the sun light up the wind turbines.
As we came over the hill, we saw Tomales Bay and the Lawsons Landing camp area to one side. But to the other side, we found rolling hills with patches of cloudy fog that hadn’t yet burned off.
We set up our camp on a grassy spot between the dunes. Score.
We packed our bags with turkey sandwiches, Vitamin water, blankets, books and cameras, and spent most of the afternoon on the beach. Everyone warned us of rain and cold water, but it was one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever seen on that beach. We walked to the end of the beach, and let Sara play with all of the feisty pups along the way. At some point, we lost her leash that was hanging from my backpack, which resulted in us leading her around with a rope the rest of the weekend (luckily, she’s well-behaved and really only needed it when the cows were in our camp spot).
The tide dropped throughout the afternoon, giving us a new view of the beach. Sara loved it.
This picture makes me so happy. It pretty much sums it all up.