Blissfully Unplugged: Camping in Lopez Lake

Hello everyone! This weekend, I went camping for my third annual grad school girls camping trip (here are the posts from 2012 and 2013). I met these ladies in grad school, and we quickly bonded over an insatiable need for caffeine, the horrors of mass communication theories, and how many times we cried each week. I jest (kind of. grad school aint for sissies). We drove north from Los Angeles to Lopez Lake near Arroyo Grande, which is about an hour south of San Luis Obispo. Our campsite was “Buck 12” and was on a shady hill looking over the madmade Lopez Lake, surrounded by oak trees. Isn’t this beautiful?

LopezLake_Sunshine_Buck12_Campsite

We set up our tent on Friday night and made a fancy gourmet dinner of fire-roasted hot dogs and chili cheese fritos, in addition to s’mores. In typical Alyssa fashion I enjoyed the indulgence at the time, but later paid for it when I woke up at 1 a.m. in a swirly nauseous junk food haze. I was really excited this camping trip to try out my new Klymit Static V Camping Mattress because for the past two years I’ve relied on a yoga mat or towel to shield my soft body from the unforgiving rocks. This year I splurged a little and got this camping mattress, which comes to you the size of a Nalgene water bottle, you blow it up with 15-20 breaths, and BOOM! Instant mattress. I was really happy and surprised with how durable and comfy this thing is… and it totally doubles as a fashionable skirt. See?

Klymit_SleepingPad_Camping_DoubleChinDiary

We woke up the next morning and headed out on what was supposed to be a 1.1 mile hike, but ended up being about four miles because we got lost several times trying to actually find the trail. It was all good training for the 3-Day, especially because it was in hills, in the middle of the day, in the sun. While we tried to find the trail, we enjoyed seeing the numerous deer at the campground who were totally unafraid of humans.

Deer_LopezLake

We finally made our way to Blackberry Trail and were so excited we had to take a picture with the sign. The hike was beautiful, with lots of fluttery butterflies, shady fern groves, and brambles of berries. Because we’re awesome, we actually got on to another trail after some other hikers had told us they had seen a bear on it (Yes, we wanted to see a bear!). Sadly, we did not run into any California Black Bears, though I did hear one huffing and puffing around our tent later that night (bears have a very distinct huff n’ puff style breathing. See?)

Hiking_BlackberryTrail

Training for the 3-Day has really shown me how important the right shoes are, and I was happy for this hike to be wearing my Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Air Mesh Hiking Shoe. I actually won these on Facebook (and so did my friend Julie – see? She’s wearing hers, too!), and I have to say I’m loving this shoe for hikes. They have plenty of support around the arch and toe box, and the grip was great as we scaled up loose dirt and tip-toed down shale-covered ravines. Plus they come in cute colors in a size 11, which is actually a big deal because most shoe manufacturers stop making cute things past a size 10 (thanks, Ahnu!).

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After our hike, we schlepped back down the mountain to the Marine store, treated ourselves to a well deserved cheese burger, and then hiked all over the campground again to go lay on the lake beach for a few hours. Sprawling in the sun felt SO GOOD. Then, it was back to our campsite for dinner for night 2 – ceasar salad and JIFFY POP! Jiffy Pop is kind of the best thing ever when you’re camping, just because it’s so fun to make over a fire. You basically shake it like crazy and then watch the foil on top turn into this huge martian head filled with delicious buttery corn.  It’s worth the $2. Do it!

JiffyPop_DoubleChinDiary

I think I so badly needed this camping trip because early Saturday morning, my phone ran out of battery and I was able to super unplug for the whole weekend. As much as I love tweeting and instagramming, there’s nothing like taking a break from being “on” and spending time really being present, like the amazing colors in this sunset, or the tiny tomato plant growing in the camp water fountain — or, even better, laughing with my friends!

LopezLake_Sunset_DoubleChinDiary

When was the last time you went camping? Are you a fan of camping or is it not for you? I definitely love camping but have learned over the years it’s better to go a little closer to “glamping” and splurge on things like a sleeping pad, bringing a table cloth for the camp, and choosing a campground with showers. Those little things can make a big difference in your comfort level! What did you do this weekend?

GradSchoolGirls

*I was not compensated in any way to write about the sleeping pad or Ahnu shoes, just wanted to share two things that made my trip less campy and more glampy. There are affiliate links in here which will earn me a few pennies if you end up deciding to check either item out 🙂

Stop Eating, Fatty

You know how sometimes you get hungry, and you eat something? Well, after an eight hour work day and a three hour class with no dinner break, I was starving. So I walked over to the local burger joint and hooked myself up with a small paper tray of delicious beer battered onion rings and a juicy cheeseburger. Yeah, not exactly ‘diet’ food, but it’s real life, and real life can’t always be diet-friendly. As I walked with my friend Virginia back to the bar where we were meeting my friends, I ripped an onion ring out of the bag and animatedly began to eat it, because I’m a silly person, and that’s what silly people do. I believe I was eating it in a Cookie Monster type of fashion, while saying “NOM NOM NOM!”. Yup. That’s me. As I ate this onion ring, a truck drove by, rolled down their windows and yelled out “Stop Eating, Fatty!” I froze. Did I really hear what I thought I heard? No. Couldn’t be me. Why would someone say that? As my brain processed the thoughts and I verbalized them to my friend, she insisted that’s not what she heard, but I’m pretty sure I heard what I heard. “Stop Eating, Fatty.”

Lucia with the infamous cheese burger. At least it had a wheat bun!

Let’s let it sit for a minute. Just words. Three words. No big deal. Wrong. Big deal. My strong, barbed wire façade came crashing down, and my formerly invisible shield of armor had a serious dent in it. I’m a pretty confident overweight person, and I carry my weight well, so I really don’t get insulted a lot by people based on my looks – at least not to my face. This hurt. It stung. So I have this to say to the young man that yelled at me from his truck: Screw you.

I hope the fleas of 1,000 camels infest your armpits. I hope the next time you entertain a lover in the bedroom, they point and laugh in shock when you drop your drawers. I hope you one day realize how your heartless, cruel comments carry more weight than just a funny thing to laugh at with your “homies”. I hope you realize that the person on the receiving end of your immaturity has feelings, emotions and real world struggles. Guess what? This fatty didn’t stop eating. She finished the damn onion rings, and the cheeseburger too – because fat people still need to eat. Contrary to popular belief, we can’t just stop eating and hope that the fat melts away like a blubbery iceberg in the summer.

Fat people aren’t emotionless. We’re not giant masses of cellulite so preoccupied with our next meal that we can’t stop and feel the pain of an insult. My fat doesn’t protect me like a shield from idiots with open windows who decide it’s fun to yell at random pedestrians. I hope you know that behind this fat body is a tender, beating heart; as alive and vulnerable as the tiny one of yours that cowers inside your illusion of coolness. It’s not “cool” to make fun of people. It’s not funny. It’s not brave. It’s appalling, and I sincerely hope Karma meets you quickly for a follow-up to this encounter. You should know I finished my onion rings, and while you hurt my feelings, I won’t shed a single tear for you or toss and turn at night. And I will absolutely not stop eating – because this fatty doesn’t take orders from anybody.