Camping: Mountains and Desert


A few times a year, I like to go camping. Sometimes I go to the mountains in Kern County, California, whereas, other times I go to the desert in Brawley, California. Camping in the mountains, although similar in atmosphere, terrain and activities, has many more benefits than camping in the desert. There is nothing like taking a deep breath of cool, crisp mountain air, taking that narrow winding road that never seems to end until at last reaching the very spot that I’ve been dreaming about.

The sun is starting to peak through the trees as I start the tedious task of setting up camp. I stop for a moment and realize I can hear laughter, bushes brushing up against the pant legs of hikers, fallen branches snapping under foot and the various ground critters that run free. I look around and see cities of tents packed tightly together under the soaring redwood trees, large rocks scattered near and far in promise of great climbing adventures for young children and shallow streams that invite even the most inexperienced fishermen.

Night falls, and I hear the trees moving, making music in the sky, coyotes howling to the moon and the streams moving swiftly as they are racing to the river. Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of flickering orange light that seems to dance in the wind, only to realize it is the camp fire at the heart of each tent city. I can see happiness painted across each of the smiling faces that sit and stare as others puff their checks out and cross their eyes.

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The smell of roasted marshmallows is beginning to engulf my pallet as I hold my metal hanger over the fire, causing my mouth to water. As I sit in my chair I can feel my eyes beginning to close, and all I can do is smile because there is a promise that tomorrow will hold new adventures. The season has changed, and the excitement has begun to sink in, the bikes are loaded and the RV is packed. The three hour drive could not pass fast enough. I open the window, and the dry, arid smell of the desert, unlike the crisp mountain air, has filled my mind with memories of trips past.

I can see off in the black sea of nothingness, a red light flashing with promise that I am are near. The road beneath starts to jostle the RV to and fro, as the pavement disappears and the dirt road begins. A bright light shines from up above, guiding my way along the old rail tracks until the wash road sign shines so bright that I am left squinting as I prepare to turn. Driving so cautiously not to find any soft sand, I finally arrive to my flat camp ground just below the smallest windblown dunes.

The sun starts to peak from what seems to be the world’s edge; shining ever so brightly upon the very attraction I’ve come for, untouched sand dunes, with not a single tree to distract my eye. Off in the distance I can hear a faint sound of what seems to be a motorcycle. As the noise becomes louder I can hear a pinging that fills my body with a rush of excitement. I grab my helmet and jumped on my bike, turned the ignition and with a thunderous roar my bike has come to life. The wind upon my skin sends chills down my spine as I maneuver through the small hills.

I look ahead to see mountainous towers of soft sand that dance with the wind. The speechless curve of each peak’s edge shifts in the breeze. I look out across the sea of sand to see tiny silver flickers climbing higher on the face of a sand dune. Several people are gathered near the bottom cheering and clapping. I ride with the wind pushing at my back, down the steep hillside. As I draw near the crowd, I realize that there are people everywhere; drinking, laughing and having a good time. That’s when my attention is thrown at the hill before me; these are the sand drags.

My heart begins to race with anticipation that one’s bike will fall. When I’ve had enough, I make the long trek back to camp. Upon nightfall, all I can hear are echoing bikes and wood popping from the fire pits. The air has begun to fill with sand from the bikes riding so close to camp, making it difficult to breathe. RV’s are packed so tightly that I can no longer see the night stars that once shone so bright. Everyone around me is beginning to celebrate, and the crowds are starting to become lively. Children must head off to bed as it is starting to become late.

The world around me is becoming a little overwhelming with the noise and lights; the time has come to head into the RV and try to fall asleep because I must wake up early the next day to try to catch a good ride through the now choppy sand. As I close my eyes, the noise seems to get louder, and the flickering camp fires begin to become bright with a promise of a loud sleepless night ahead. Although I enjoy camping in the mountains and the desert, the soft, crisp mountain breeze offers a promise of a relaxing and breath taking experience. With the hiking, the trees and the friendly atmosphere, the mountains have much more to offer.

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Camping: Mountains and Desert. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

Camping: Mountains and Desert
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