October 8-10, 2016
Owl Canyon, Barstow, California
After a bunch of expensive California RV parks serving the masses of people traveling to the national parks, we decided it would be good for our budget & our mental health to try a night of boondocking on BLM land. We knew it would mean no hookups, but only $6.00/night. We knew it would mean leaving paved roads, but hopefully some nice views & more privacy. As we left the highway and started driving the 3 miles of bumpy washboard dirt road into the middle of nowhere, I could feel my anxiety rising about this location that felt so far from civilization compared to what we’ve be used to so far. I menstioned to Brad, “I hope this campground isn’t full, but I also hope it’s not completely empty.” It was only 3 miles from the highway, but they road was so slow-go and the desert so remote-looking, it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We passed an old mobile home that Was missing parts of some walls. Breaking Bad definitely came to mind. Listening to our entire home rattling down the road, I wondered how many of our possessions would be broken by the time we arrived and I was wondering if it would be worth it to have a quieter night away from neighbors riding motorcycles at 11pm.
When we finally passed the sign welcoming us into the Owl Canyon Campground, we were very pleasantly surprised. Our road through nothing had led us to a surprisingly clean and wel-developed campground, complete with multiple bathroom facilities, several small playgrounds, trails, and covered picnic areas at each site! We had quite a few other RV neighbors at the campground, but it was so spread out and the sites were so large, that it didn’t feel crowded in the least. We chose a site with an unobstructed view of the interesting colorful cliffs and set up home.
Ironically enough, our cell reception was 100% better than it had been outside of sequoia, so we had our cake and ate it too – views & seclusion, but great connectivity! We caught up on some phone calls to family and brad was able to work on our MiFi.
We hiked out a canyon trail from our campground to explore the amazing canyon walls. I’ve never seen such colorful rocks, and all different colors all in the same area! The canyon walls looked like a picture out of a geology textbook showing the different eras of the creation of the mountains.
The layers shot you out of the ground st 45* angles. I wasn’t lucky enough to find any myself, but we read that lots of fossils have been found in the area, and we made our own fossils to talk about how they are made.
So far away from town we also enjoyed some stellar nighttime skies – gorgeous sunsets & endless stars. One night we all sat outside under the stars to listen to Brad read the next chapter of The Silver Chair. Once he finished reading and took coral inside, Sunny & I sat outside awhile to watch for shooting stars. We talked about how every star was a burning mass just like our sun and wondered how many other stars had planets orbiting them as well. “Do you think each of the stars has their own Jesuses?” She wanted to know.
We enjoyed the campground (and the price) so much that we decided to stay an extra night. The only tricky part was that we had only filled up water tanks planning for one night, so we had to ration water a little. Besides that, our first boondocking experience was a great one that has left us ready for more!