Day Trip Joshua Tree National Park - Campfire Chic

Day Trip: Joshua Tree National Park

Alex and I headed out for a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding area on a whim a few weekends ago. We didn’t have any set plans, we just knew we needed some time in the desert.

Our first stop was to Joshua Tree Coffee Company, a super tiny roaster just outside the West Entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. This is seriously good coffee and you can tell they take pride in their work.

Coffee in hand, we headed across the street to Natural Sisters Cafe. We seem to always hit this awesome spot when we’re in town and Alex couldn’t resist ordering the Rock Climber’s Revenge smoothie (his favorite) and I grabbed a chocolate coconut muffin (seriously, you need this) and sat outside in the sun for a bit.

Joshua Tree National Park Views - Campfire Chic

Quail Springs Boulders - Joshua Tree National Parks - Campfire Chic

We spent most of our time at Quail Springs Picnic Area, which is one of the first stops once you get into the park from the West Entrance. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the park, make this your stop because you get to stretch your legs while scrambling up the large rock formations. There are pit toilets at the parking lot and several picnic tables with barbecues available for park guests. There is no camping in this area.

There are a handful of bouldering problems in this area and if you can be the crowds of other park guests, you can get some decent warm ups in without having a long approach. Check the local climbing shops for books/guides if you do not have one of your own to bring to the park.

Be careful as you scramble and climb anywhere in the park. This area is popular for families and day trippers because the formations are easy to tackle, but it is still dangerous. This isn’t Disneyland, you can still slip and fall, you can knock boulders loose and send them tumbling down…you get the picture. Please be careful.

Please be careful.

Quail Springs Picnic Area - Joshua Tree National Park - Campfire Chic

We continued our aimless day with a drive out to Keys View, a wheelchair accessible viewpoint that allows guests to see all the way to Mexico. You will see some of the tallest peaks in Southern California, and the Salton Sea from here, too. This won’t take much time out of your day you are looking to gain some elevation without needing to break out your hiking shoes.

A few stops later, we headed back out of the park to eat at Crossroads Cafe. We ordered the polenta & eggs, a side of macaroni & cheese, and a large side of Ahi tuna. It was all fantastic and worth the short wait. This a great restaurant if you are looking for great options for vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters.

There are additional shops in the area that are great for window shopping and picking up unique items for your home. You can find cactus shops, antique stores, and interesting boutiques as you drive through town. If you’re there on a weekend, you may also find a farmer’s market or two.

You can find my other posts about Joshua Tree National Park here.

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2016 Gift Guide for Microadventurers

Last year’s gift guide for microadventurers was a lot of fun to put together and I wanted to put together another one for 2016.

2016 Gift Guide for Microadventurers

Start 2017 off with some new gear for your microadventures! This year, I realized I’m all about comfort over having the brightest and shiniest things. I want to be warm during long nights in the desert, I want to be able to relax at the end of a long day, and I want to be able to spend a long time on the trail without being uncomfortable. Maybe you’re thinking the same thing?

Add these items to your microadventure kit:

  • For you lovebirds out there, the Teton sports tracker double wide 5 degree ultralight sleeping bag is what you’ll want for cozy nights camping. Instead of sleeping in separate bags or needing to buy bags with complementary zippers, this two person bag will keep you together on cold nights.
  • Not all campers want to sit in the very low lightweight chairs on the market right now, so the Linger high back Kelty camp chair is a good option. The chair comes with a carry bag that is actually easy to get the chair back into…a miracle. I haven’t tested this chair with larger adventurers, but I feel like it may be a snug fit for my dad so test out the chair if you get a chance.
  • Let’s talk about a stocking stuffer only an adventurer would understand: the outdoors body glide stick. I use body glide when I go hiking because my strong thighs light to rub together and there are few things more uncomfortable than chaffing thighs. In high school, I used body glide on long run days during the summer in case my sports bra rubbed against my inner arm. Nobody likes chaffing. What’s nice about the outdoors version of this essential is that there is no scent to it!
  • For those of us with family members/friends who insist on having a solid roof over their heads in order to have fun, give them  KOA gift card! I used one on my trip this last June through 3 national parks. KOA kamprounds can be found throughout the United States and come with a variety of accommodations including cabins and yurts. We were really impressed with the holiday versions of KOA and would stay at the West Glacier KOA again in a heartbeat.
  • Another great stocking stuffer idea: Ritual Energy bites. I was sent a sample of these mini bars and I was really surprised by the simple ingredient list! I’m a big fan of Lara bars for the same reason: I know what the ingredients are and can spell them without needing autocorrect. What makes these little bars different is they have the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee and they are small enough to slip into a small pocket (like on the outside of some chalk bags!
  • I was really surprised by the Teton Sports Journey 40 degree bag. The Teton guys handed it to me when I asked for a bag liner and I was pretty confused because it is so little I thought they were giving me an inflatable camp pad or maybe an inflatable pillow. This bag is very thin and can be used as a bag liner to up the warmth of your favorite bag, as a barrier when you’re staying in a motel your mom might raise an eyebrow at, or on its own on warm nights. Alex and I opened it up to use as a light blanket as we relaxed in the van.
  • Pull up assistant bands (I bought these MummyStrength ones which come with a warm up and exercise guide via email) are easy to store and easy to carry equipment for those of us on that quest to do a pull-up. I use one of these at the gym but I prefer to use my own bands to customize my workout and so I don’t have to wait for somebody else to finish using the gym band. I have the red and purple bands, but you’ll want to consult the buying guide to see which band(s) is best for you.

 

This blog post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. I’m an Amazon Affiliate and will receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. I only listed things I own and tested, some of these items were given to me as samples. I don’t recommend items I do not feel Campfire Chic readers will benefit from. 

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in 2016, Review

30 Days of Lists - Creative Journaling Challenge for List Makers with Kam of Campfire Chic

If you are looking for a creative outlet this month, I want to encourage you to check out 30 Days of Lists. 

The December edition of 30 Days of Lists begins today and we’re super excited to get started. I know I need a creative project to close out 2016. What a year, right?

The December edition of 30 Days of Lists is not holiday-themed. You are more than welcome to interpret the daily list prompts however you’d like and you can even make up your own if you don’t like what we suggest! This is your project and there is no wrong way to make a list.

Click here to register for 30 Days of Lists – December 2016 for only $9

With that, I encourage you to sign up sooner rather than later because the lists are delivered via email each day (the first list went out a few hours ago) so you don’t want to get too far behind. We go with the email format of #30Lists for December because we know you’re super busy this month.

30-days-of-lists-december-edition

We go with the email format of #30Lists for December because we know you’re super busy this month. In fact, we even give you all the list prompts up front in case you want to binge-list over the weekend.

We just ask you don’t post any spoilers online before the prompts are released. For example, please don’t post about List #5 before December 5th (2am Pacific time, to be exact). This is a very special project to many Listers and the element of surprise is part of the fun!

Click here to register for 30 Days of Lists – December 2016 for only $9

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Tips for Preparing for 30 Days of Lists December Edition with Kam of Campfire Chic

Tips for Preparing for 30 Days of Lists – December Edition

The December edition is fast approaching and I want to share some tips for preparing for the creative journaling challenge to help you decide to jump into this awesome project. If you haven’t registered for 30 Days of Lists, you can do so here for only $9.

As somebody who likes to plan ahead before starting a project, I want to share some tips on how you can prepare for the project once you register. December 1st is fast approaching and it’s a good idea to spend your down time between then and now preparing so you don’t feel overwhelmed on the first.

For starters, the first thing you will want to do is decide how you house your lists for December. 

You may not have the time or desire to create a whole 12×12 scrapbook during December, which is totally reasonable! What I love this project is that there are so many ways to approach it…and Listers are not shy sharing the different ways they tackle their lists.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Use that notebook or journal you bought years ago but could never bring yourself to use. This project is all about you and your story, so use that cute notebook already!
  • Make a small scrapbook using your stash of paper and embellishments. I love using this project as a “scrap buster” to use up some of my favorite pieces collected over the year. Not only can this project be a reflection of your ‘right now’ story, it can be a reflection of your favorite papers and embellishments that you’re hoarding right now.
  • Go digital by creating your lists using a fun photo-editing app. We know many Listers connect with us via tablets and we think it’s a good opportunity to use those incredible apps available at your fingertips to create you lists and keep them all in one place…your computer!
  • Keep it simple and write your lists on a sticky note each day. We’re totally serious with this one.
  • Use this as a way to blog each day of December. The daily list prompts can help spark a new blog post and the added benefit of getting you into the habit of blogging daily or weekly is a great way to end 2016.
  • Go above and beyond and doodle your lists, try painting your lists, or even embroider your lists (yes, a stitch-happy Lister do this once!). 30 Days of Lists is a great opportunity to try your hand at a style you want to try (think art journaling!) and want a way to test the waters with a supportive community at your back.

There are so many options and we see new styles each challenge. Deciding on how you want to list and gathering your supplies now will help you dive into your lists come December 1st.

Our (super awesome) Ambassadors have some ways to help you prepare for your challenge, too:

One question we get each year is: are the lists holiday-related?

The answer is: The lists are not specifically holiday-themed, but we try to include list prompts where you could include your favorite holiday traditions, what you eat during your holiday meals, the songs you listen to, and more. We do have list prompts that ask you to reflect back on the year and consider your future. We have an international audience and want to do our best to include the beliefs, ambitions, and desires of our Listers.

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in 30 Days of Lists, Scrapbooking

December Scrapbook Ideas - 30 Days of Lists Creative Journaling Challenge with Kam of Campfire Chic

Why Document Your December with Lists?

I am a huge fan of documenting my everyday life. I like that I can go back to when Alex and I first started dating and see how we spent our weekends, how we celebrated the holidays, and how we created our own traditions and habits as a couple. I can also go back and see what life was like before Alex was in it. I have pages from junior high, a few things from high school, and an album or two from my freshman year of undergrad.

The idea of documenting our everyday life in December is especially interesting to me. I like that the challenge of December Daily (started by Ali Edwards) encourages documenting more than just the special holiday times. It encourages us to focus on how our lives are very much the same as the other times of the year, but maybe we’re bringing out our winter coats, cute boots, and extra blankets to have around the house. The details of our lives can get overlooked while we make yet another Christmas Morning! scrapbook layout.

The details of our lives can get overlooked while we make yet another Christmas Morning! scrapbook layout. 

So how do lists come into the picture?

A few years ago, 30 Days of Lists participants who also participated in Ali Edwards’ December Daily project asked if Amy and I could run a special edition of #30Lists for December.

It’s not that they wanted more projects to work on during what could be the busiest time of the year, it’s that they wanted:

  • structure to their daily entries. Knowing you have at least one thing for each day makes the month-long project less intimidating
  • journaling prompts that wouldn’t take a long time. Making a list doesn’t take a long time!
  • a way to document their December that wasn’t all about Christmas. We have a diverse community and we wanted to create a space that made each one of our Listers feel comfortable documenting their Decembers without feeling like they’d run into Santa at every turn
  • a way to document their December that wasn’t all about kids/family time. I don’t have kids and it surprises people who know me outside of the internet (aka the so-call real world) that I scrapbook because they assume that only moms/grandmas scrapbook. I have my own story to tell and I know other Listers like the opportunity to documenting their ‘right now’ story that doesn’t need to be in the context of their relationship with others

While we don’t focus on specific holidays, our list prompts were developed in a way that you will be able to interpret them however you’d like. For example, if we give you the prompt: Favorite things to eat this time of the year, you could focus your list on the food that you eat during a holiday meal, or you could focus on the food and drink that is only available during the winter season like the seasonal drink list at your local coffee shop.

30 Days of Lists is a very special project to me and the Listers who participate each challenge. We hope you decide to join us so you can document your December to look back on in a few years to see how you’ve changed and how you stayed the same. We encourage you to dedicate a few minutes each day to do something for yourself…telling your ‘right now’ story.

Register for the December 2016 edition of 30 Days of Lists for only $9

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