Hipcamper of the Week: Laura C.

Each week, we want to celebrate members of our community that inspire us and spread #campvibes. We were inspired by  this week’s Hipcamper of the Week, Laura C., because she ended a two month camping/surfing trip in Baja watching the Supermoon at Desert Mountain Majesty in Joshua Tree. You’re awesome, Laura! ?

In addition to being celebrated on our site, Hipcampers of the Week win a limited edition MiiR x Hipcamp mug. Share your adventures with #Hipcamp to be next!

What drew you to Baja and how long have you been planning this trip?

We’ve gone down to Baja for 2 week trips the last few years. We knew my husband was going to be quitting his job and wanted to celebrate with a longer trip down there. Baja is amazing, it’s rugged & raw. The diversity of the cactus growing there are so cool…especially after a rain and everything blooms/greens out. We live in Santa Cruz, Ca. And though the surf breaks in Baja aren’t the secret they used to be…there’s way less people in the water.

What were the trip highlights? Any photos to share?

Having the time to just be in the moment. Having enough time to loose oneself in those moments and not look for everything to be perfect but to just be. Surf when the swell was good. Eat when we were hungry. Watch the light change in the dunes and on the hills. We brought fat bikes and explored back “roads” and the beaches.

We also got top see the Grey whales on the Pacific coast. The mother’s migrate down there to have their babies. We took a small boat out and had mothers and their new babies swim around/under/ and up to the boat. Their so curious and seem to want to engage. The babies would lift their heads up to the edge of the boat and look at you. The mothers are treating their young to hunt and they do these synchronized dives and movements that were mesmerizing.

Any #vanlife tips to share after camping and living out of your van for 2 months?

With the increase of people camping in our vans and  disperse camping, I feel like it’s really important to be conscious of one’s impact. To research “leave no trace” ethics as much as possible. Where we park and set up camp? How will that impact plants/erosion. Often a shovel is one’s “bathroom”. Dig deep and burn the tp. The amount of tp floating around is insane.

Being in Baja really got me thinking about what containers we bring things down in and what we buy. The only real recycling that happens down there is w/ aluminum cans. Trash, which includes glass/metal/ plastic, either gets burned or dumped in ditches or “designated side roads. Glass/tin eventually break down but plastic blows around and seems to stay around forever.

Purified water re-filling stations in small stores and businesses are everywhere. Such an easy way to avoid buying/throwing out plastic jugs.

Van life living, hmmm…

  • Have spaces for things. Staying organized and as de-cluttered as possible helps out a lot. Hooks /shelves/bins/hanging bags…however one’s van is set up for storage. Make access to things as easy as possible.
  • Mood lighting is pretty nice. Our van has a really bright overhead light and using solar string lights/string lights and rechargeable lanterns are great for flexibility.
  • Have a back-up way of cooking. Every 2 weeks we would head the 2 hour bumpy road into town to re-supply and get a shower in. We had just got back to the beach when we realized our stove had broken from all that bumping around. If we’d had our small backpacking stove as back up, that morning coffee would have been so easy. Instead we made do with campfires for cooking. Works too, but you have to source wood/get your cooking gear sooty/ and wait to surf till the coals are hot enough to boil that water!
  • Know your weather temps. Baja gets cold, and it’s great to have plenty of layers. The cactus thorns are pretty incredible and I could have used some thinker soled shoes.
  • Less is more but creature comforts are good too.
  • Make room for each other. Create areas where everyone can get comfortable with a book when you’re holing up inside to avoid howling winds/rain/cold nights.

Tell us about what it was like to end the trip watching the Supermoon in Joshua Tree.
That camp spot has this super cool swing structure with the flat bed of a truck as the lounge area. We got there right as the sun was setting. I saw that and quickly grabbed a bunch of our pillows/blankets/my husband and dog. We nested up and watched the glow on the hills. Then this crazy pink glow started rising from the hills….and then the moon. It was stunning. So cool to be all cozy, lightly swaying, sipping wine and soaking it all up.

I loved how personal this spot was. The owners have put so much care and thought into all the details. Originally we were going for a hotel and a hot shower/wi-fi…but then we realized we still wanted to be camping out and wanted to be somewhere more personal.

What’s your favorite thing about camping?
I love how camping encourages me to be present. Life is simplified. Choices have already been made with what’s been packed.  I’m outside the whole time, getting to take in all the changes in the light. Feel the wind. Views, beauty everywhere.

It may be too soon…but what’s next?! Do you any upcoming trips planned?

We love to camp out in our van either for surf trips or mountain bike trips. We’re talking about heading up to the NW/BC mid-Summer to do some camping/riding. Late Summer/Fall something similar out to Colorado or the SW. I’m betting we’ll get back down to Baja next Winter. And probably just fit in some smaller excursions this Winter/Spring.

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