Enjoying the mountain fresh air – Idyllwild, California

Idyllwild Park, California

Idyllwild Park, California

Our family spent most of last week on vacation in the mountains of Southern California. I have no shame admitting camping is not on my list of enjoyable vacation activities. Sorry but if I go away from home, I require at the minimum: a shower with hot running water, a comfortable bed and a fridge. Add a microwave, a stove, a tea kettle and internet connection (scroll below), and I’m really happy. So we rented a wood cabin a mile away from the lovely small town of Idyllwild, CA for six days, 5000 feet up and away from most civilization larger cities. The best part? Idyllwild is just a little over two hours away from San Diego, where we live.

It’s the first time my kids have spent a significant amount of time up in the mountains and I think the fresh air did them some good. Well, that’s if you take away the billions of particles of yellow tree pollen that fell around the house, on my car and everywhere else every day. Not sure what it was, but it made me sneeze the whole time! The kids seemed to adapt so well to the altitude and the fresh air, they skipped their naps on most days. “We’re too excited to sleep”, they would say. Hmm, thanks, I could have used a few naps myself…

Spending our vacation in the mountains was my choice. Mountains are the only places in Southern California displaying greenery all year round. Don’t misunderstand me, you’ll never see me up these mountains in the dead of winter. I can’t stand the white stuff, the ice and the cold that go with it. But for June, it was the perfect place to be.

We took the kids hiking along trails through beautiful pine-smelling forests (gosh, I LOVE the smell):

Hiking in Idyllwild Park, California

Hiking in Idyllwild Park, California

I had plenty of opportunities to take beautiful pictures of our surroundings, including of the Strawberry Creek that runs through the town:

Strawberry Creek in Idyllwild, CA

Strawberry Creek in Idyllwild, CA

The kids even had the opportunity to dress up as coyotes at the Idyllwild Nature Center. Yes, it’s a real coyote pelt…

Coyote pelt at Idyllwild Nature Center

Coyote pelt at Idyllwild Nature Center

We got to try new restaurants, some of them featuring delicious food, others we’ll never go back to. We endured paying $4.50 a gallon for milk, and $6.00 for 1.5 quart of ice cream. At that price, it all tasted wonderful! Since our cabin came with a fully-equipped kitchen, we catered to our frugality by cooking many of our meals at home. Both kids and parents even caught up on some movies, available for free at the rental office. Can you believe we all saw Pixar’s Cars for the first time? Yes, I’m talking about Cars 1…

The only drawback to our trip (besides the overwhelming tree pollen)? Technology, or rather the lack of. My Virgin Mobile phone displayed no service most of the time. That meant no phone calls, no texting and no data available. Argh!!! And the cabin didn’t even offer WiFi, even though the website told us it did. Fortunately my husband managed to use his full-bar-displaying Verizon phone (not fair!) as a WiFi hotspot so I could still check email and blog while away from home. I told you I don’t do camping. For this, I’ll be forever grateful to Verizon my husband.

Overall we had a great time there and got to try new things. Sometimes you don’t have to go far away from home to enjoy a well-deserved break.

Are you planning to go away on vacation this summer? Or are you planning a staycation instead?

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8 responses to “Enjoying the mountain fresh air – Idyllwild, California

  1. Once upon a time, I had a Virgin phone, and that’s why I have a Verizon one now. The deal is this: Virgin uses SprintNextel’s towers. However, unlike most cell companies, who have arrangements with other companies to use the other companies’ towers when the customers are not near any of their own companies’ towers (which is what “roaming” is), Virgin’s “no roaming” doesn’t mean “no roaming charges”, it means “our phone don’t roam”. It’s too bad–I liked Virgin’s setup otherwise. Verizon, on the other hand, seems to have the best actual coverage, nationwide–they have coverage in lots of back of beyond places that no one else has coverage in.

    • I’ll give Virgin Mobile some credit, as my phone worked well in the center of town. Anywhere else more remote, not so much… I had ATT before and had good coverage but couldn’t stand paying $40 a month for phone only. I now pay $25 for phone, text and data, so I know there’s some sacrifice along with my frugality. :-)
      At least we had one phone working in most places, it could have been worse!

  2. Charles Poole

    Love this post! Warm reflections that will become fond memories for everyone as the years go by. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sounds fun and I’m glad you still got to do your blog! :)

  4. What a beautiful place to take a vacation! I’m with you: not much of a camper. But a fully equipped cottage? That sounds good to me.

    We already had our “vacation” this summer: a 2 1/2 week road trip to visit family on the east coast. During it, it occurred to my husband and me that we haven’t traveled anywhere since our kids were born that didn’t include visiting family. So that’s on the agenda for our next trip.

    • I think you made a great point. We all spend way too much of our vacation visiting relatives or having relatives visit us. Sometimes it’s important to allocate specific time to spend with our own little family. That’s exactly why we planned to very vacation and it was great!

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