SA Guide: Little Harbor to Two Harbors

"Best thing about camping," I said.

Laura agreed, "Yay, Pop Tarts."

Okay, it would be pretty sad if Pop Tarts (actually, "Nature's Path" toaster pastries) truly were the best thing about camping, but for some reason we both really enjoy them when we've got a good excuse - like a backpacking trip. Sure there's the hint of childhood - and it's accompanying overly sweet breakfasts that we've outgrown as adults - that amplifies the experience, but when a large part of your day is going to be dominated by hours of hiking with a good-sized pack on your back, that shot of sugar is also welcome.

Especially when you've got the ones with the frosting (mmmm, Cherry Pomegranate).

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SA Guide: Airport in the Sky to Little Harbor

Look into camping on Catalina Island and you'll inevitably come across this quote from Sunset magazine, "One of the best campgrounds in the West," referring to Little Harbor campground. Though I couldn't track down the actual source of the quote I wasn't about to be skeptical. I'd always wanted to visit Little Harbor, on the island's windward side.

We were planning a backpacking trip to coincide with Laura's birthday - allowing us to take advantage of Catalina Express' "Ride free on your birthday" deal - but unfortunately she had a group hike to lead just two days later back in Orange County. Still, Little Harbor beckoned, and although it seemed likely that one night wasn't really going to be enough I figured there was no way to be sure we'd be back again. So off we went...might as well be left wanting more rather than wait and possibly never go at all.

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SA Guide: Overlook, Barker Peak Loop, Nature Trail, Rings Loop

It had been too long since we'd gotten away.

Laura and I had spent most of 2014 planning and then canceling camping trips for one reason or another, and between her growing wildflower mania and my normal everyday mania things were coming to a head. So on a Friday night we decided to forgo the normal organizational process, throw caution to the wind, and just go. We hastily threw together gear, clothes and food, and then took off before sunrise Saturday morning optimistically headed to Joshua Tree National Park.

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SA Guide: Bell/Oso/Cougar

There are hiking days when you struggle to haul yourself up the slightest hill - not because you're out of shape but…just because. Sometimes it's work. Granted, it's a nice working environment, but on the hard days it often seems like I barely notice my surroundings. Fortunately for me these experiences are few, and as one would expect from any activity that lends itself to a normal, Gaussian distribution (yeah, that's a little statistics smack there), the bulk of my time spent padding the trails is routinely enjoyable.

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