We had the best time this past weekend camping at this Hipcamp in Jamul, California! I posted a bunch of pictures and videos on my Instagram stories and got some questions about the details, so today I'll share them all plus some of my favorite pictures we took. The first thing I'll say though, is that if you don't have an SUV with 4-wheel drive, you will NEED to rent one to be able to go here. This was the second-worst road we've ever been on, but it was so worth it to get to this at the top:
As you can see from some of the pictures above, although it was remote, there was actually a lot set up at the site. There was a big platform with a table, a space to hang a hammock (we brought our own), a small outdoor kitchen (propane stove, sink with running water, and prep area), and plenty of room to lounge. Above that, there was a little house with a slanted roof that you took a drawbridge to get to:
And then there was the green safari tent pictured above, plus a bathroom! The bathroom was SO cool. It was built onto the side of a rock, so it was a little treacherous to get there, but it was all part of the adventure :) Plus, having a flushing toilet and a sink to brush your teeth in while camping was incredible.
In case you can't tell from the pictures, the bathroom actually had privacy from the campsite area--the open air part of it only faced out to 160 acres of empty space! It was such a unique and cool concept. This Hipcamp is private, so we had the whole mountain to ourselves. And for those who haven't used Hipcamp before, it's like Airbnb but for private campsites. This is probably our 4th or 5th time using it, and every experience has been awesome! This site even had super fast WiFi and electricity!
Let's talk about camping food. I like to eat really well when we camp, but also not spend a ton of precious daylight hours prepping. For our dinner, I made a super yummy one-pot meal that used some seasonal ingredients, too!
Here's the recipe: 1 cup orzo and two cups water in a deep cast-iron skillet on a propane camp stove on medium-high heat. Also add in (all at the same time) 1 small chopped yellow onion and 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces. I'm not normally the biggest asparagus fan, but they are in season in California and so tender and delish right now!!
Bring everything to a boil, stirring frequently, and then turn down the heat a little and cook until all the water is absorbed (you don't need to drain this). I also stirred in some onion powder, fresh thyme, and red pepper flakes. When it's all absorbed, take off the heat and stir in about half a cup of pine nuts and half a cup of parmesan cheese, whether vegan or dairy.
I added a little salt and pepper on top at the end. It was honestly so good, Grace loved it and was going back and scraping the pan clean.
Of course, we had to roast some marshmallows after. Dandies is one of our favorite brands, and it doesn't have any gelatin in it.
Can you believe how perfect this natural outdoor fireplace is?! Grace made a great fire, as always. I don't know how she does it so perfectly every single time. I might have to get her to write a guest post on that topic at some point.
For breakfast the next morning, I kept it simple (and tasty) and toasted some bread on the stove and made peanut butter-banana toasts and avocado toast. A bit of lime and salt and red pepper flakes are the keys to great avocado toast, in my opinion!
This trip was over too quickly, but it was so sweet. We got to play scrabble, look at the stars and the city lights in the valleys below, work on our wedding vows a bit, soak up alone time together, and of course adventure with our dingo dog Willie. We boarded Bean because I was nervous about taking such a small dog to such a wild location, and I'm glad I did. He would have been scared. We want to expose him to camping for sure, but this was not the location to do so! We need to test the waters in the proverbial baby pool first.
We would HIGHLY recommend this spot for camping and would go back, but I do have to caution others about the rough road. It is not for the faint of heart, even if you do have 4-wheel drive. I was literally sweating as we drove up the mountain. But if you are experienced in off-roading, it's so worth it! For reference Grace has a Subaru SUV and we have done worse road before, but this was high on our list of "worst." The Sub could handle it, but I just want to caution people.
I'll leave you with a few more favorite pictures from the weekend! It was impossible to take a bad picture in this stunning place.