Saturday, May 12, 2012

Peppermint Campground :: Sequoia National Monument

What better way to celebrate Amanda's 31st birthday than with friends, cooking over a campfire, jumping off rocks into cold water, and camping under a dark star-filled sky.

Most campgrounds in this area are still closed in early May, but Peppermint Campground (which is at 7,200 feet) opens from May-October - as long as the road is open. While camping at Wishon a couple of weeks ago we met some local Porterville folks who gave Peppermint a very high recommendation. They said it was their favorite campground in the area. 

Peppermint is a dispersed campground - which we discovered to mean that it's a bunch of dirt roads and you can camp pretty much anywhere off the road - there are no assigned "spots." There are a few tables, and we happened to get one of them. There are also random rock fire-pits here and there, which are helpful, but you have to get a fire permit from the Ranger Station. Fire permits are free they just want people to be informed on how to have a fire in the forest. 

Another thing to note about this campground - no trash cans. Pack it in, pack it out people. And there is one structure with vault toilets. 

We set up camp right next to the stream. The sound of the rushing creek lulled us to sleep at night. We really lucked out because there were NO mosquitos. Those things eat Amanda alive. 

Ain't nothing better in the world then a stream-cooled beer while campin!

Noah made an obstacle course for the kids.

These two were having a great time together. So cute.

Our new dutch oven is amazing!
The guys cooked Audrey and Amanda breakfast (bacon, biscuits and gravy) for Mother's Day.

We all cooked for each other this trip and it lead to the best camp food experience we have ever had.
Food is key to an epic camping trip.

On Saturday we took a drive down Hwy 190, back down to around 3000 feet, and we found a turn out with some stairs leading down to the river. We all took a jump in the ice cold water, and it was wonderful! What is it about jumping into cold water that's therapeutic and healing?

Picnic in the shade by the swimming hole.

On the way home on Sunday our little family made a stop at the Trail of 100 Giants to see some of the biggest and oldest trees in the world.

In September 2011 this Giant Sequoia fell on to the trail. We read that a German tourist was actually there when it fell and got a video. I cannot even imagine the impact that tree made when it fell.

From Highway 99 near Baskersfield, turn east on Highway 190. 

Travel 31 miles east on State Highway 190, Western Divide Highway and Road 21S07. Look for a small "Peppermint Campground" sign on your left. There will be a few dirt roads, follow the roads a while till you see somewhere you want to camp.

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