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Camping at Crystal Springs

Typically we love to go camping at least a few times during the spring and summer. This has definitely slowed down since Graham was born, but it's still something we love to do and share with Graham. We hope he grows to love camping and being outdoors as much as we do! With Covid-19 planning any sort of camping trip seemed impossible. But as things started opening up we were eager to escape these four walls and spend some time in the mountains. 

Since we hadn't planned ahead and weren't able to make reservations anywhere, we decided to risk it and try to get a first come first serve campsite near Lake Tahoe. We convinced Erica and Corrie (Auntie Bea & Coco) to come with us since we're kind of in a quarantine bubble together. Corrie and Andrew had gotten a site at Woods Lake last year over Labor Day weekend, so we thought we had pretty good chances of getting a site. But we were mistaken. Andrew and I left late morning in hopes that Graham would take his nap on the drive up. But when we arrived there were no sites left, it looked as though a few people were just setting up so I was kicking myself for not leaving earlier and just winging it with Graham's nap.

Since there was no cell service we weren't sure what to do. Graham was still sleeping in the car so we continued driving down the highway and were able to find a spot at Crystal Springs. It wasn't too far away, so we thought we'd still be able to keep our plans for Saturday hiking and then hanging out at Woods Lake. The campsite wasn't great since it was right off the main highway, but it was nice enough and flat for G to run around and play. Plus it had a spot for our hammock and we found a creek nearby for G to explore as well. 

After we got settled, we found a little lodge nearby with wifi that we were able to get on and text Corrie & Erica so they knew where to find us and everything worked out. 

On Saturday after breakfast we headed out towards Woods Lake where we parked and started our hike up to Winnemucca Lake near the base of Round Top. It was a good hike with pretty wild flowers but definitely a climb! G did great hiking in his pack and Andrew definitely got a workout in. At the lake we relaxed for a while and ate lunch. And of course the boys took a swim! Then we hiked back down towards Woods Lake where we used the SUP and kayak for a bit before heading back towards camp to make dinner.

The hike was really nice and although there were other people it felt totally safe and we just stepped off the trail to let them pass. We had our own little spot at the lake for lunch that was perfect. Down at Woods Lake it was more crowded and hard to find a spot, but once we got settled we were mostly out on the water taking turns in the kayak or SUP anyway. It was a great way to end the day. 

Sunday morning after breakfast and packing up we went to Red Lake on the way home. Graham was a bit overtired and grumpy so we ended up calling it after an hour or so. But Coco got in some fishing and we were able to relax by the water for a while before heading back to the heat and quarantine life. The highlight was having a bald eagle circle right above us two times then heading back into the trees behind us. Then we saw an osprey fish 3 different times right in front of us. I'm turning into my Mom getting excited by bird sightings, but isn't that the way it works? I'm happy if I'm becoming like her :)

It was a great weekend with friends and so good for the soul getting away from home and having some time in the mountains and nature. And it was good practice for our Tuolumne Meadows camping trip the following weekend! 

People warned us that we would be able to camp for a few years after having Graham, and while it is a lot of work and requires way too much stuff, it's so fun and 100% worth the effort. We look forward to many more adventures camping as a family and with friends too! 

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