Week-Long Camping Trip @ Lake Almanor, CA

by Denielle B

It was a fantastic camping week at one of my favorite places on earth, Lake Almanor. Actually, Lake Almanor is Andrew’s favorite place on earth, but he was the one who introduced me to it, and he has done a great job converting me, haha. Lots of fun, lots of great people, lots of cute animals, but most importantly, lots of great food!

So, a little background: this week-long trip is something that Andrew’s family has been doing every year for decades. I believe his grandparents started the tradition, and it’s always been at the same place. His uncle even said he’s been doing this trip for 63 years! That type of connection to one place is incredible.

Andrew brought me here the first time back in 2018 and I was the first (and last!) girl he brought to this annual family outing. I think he was a little worried because I grew up very sheltered and never got to experience real camping before. The goal for him that time was just to make sure I didn’t go running off scared, haha. I genuinely enjoyed the experience, to both our relief, and been looking forward to the trip every year since!

This year was a little interesting. The booking reservation for Rocky Point campground was actually divided up into two booking periods, so long story short, we had to move campsites twice in the first 3 days. It wasn’t too bad, but it was really, really hot. I was very relieved once we moved in to our last campsite. We also had the most people come this year, AND the most number of pets. Plenty of folks to interact with!

The meals

One of the things I always look forward to in our annual camping trip is the cooking. I always get teased for being a “fancy” camp cook, but it’s not really for the sake of being fancy–I just really like the challenge and experience of outdoor cooking. The two must-haves now for me and Andrew for our Almanor trip is my Dutch oven beef stew and apple crisp. I made them both the first year I went to Almanor with him, and we both agreed they needed to be part of our regular menu for camping moving forward. What’s great about Dutch oven cooking for camping is that you’re using charcoal briquettes to cook and you just leave some amount on the bottom and some amount on the top, and you just leave them there. This frees up our camp stove and the campfire for any other thing we may need to use them for.

Aside from those two regulars, we made biscuits and gravy (also in the Dutch oven), which his older sister actually got us into. She made it one year and it was soooo good and easy that we craved it this year as well. We also had the usual camp food: hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages. On top of that, we had some convenient food items like cereal, instant noodles, and my homemade granola, and some easy to cook items like spam, eggs, pearled couscous, pancakes, etc. On top of that, we couldn’t forget to smoke trout that we caught. And of course, camping is not complete without s’mores!

The local town

Another thing we look forward to at Almanor is our local coffee place that we visit in the nearby town of Chester. Coffee Station is a cute little place with amazing people and great coffee. I also like the funny little signs they have inside. Whenever we’re not having our instant coffee in our camp site, we like to go to town for a visit. This time around we brought our dogs along, McKenzie (Border Collie) and Jasmine (Australian Shepherd). They loved all the attention they got, of course.

The fishing

And of course, a camping trip isn’t complete without fishing in beautiful scenery! I didn’t get to fish as much because I wanted to balance it out with relaxing on the hammock, reading, etc. BUT! I still got a good-sized fishy, so I’m fine with that. Andrew also got a good haul from fishing, so I’d say a pretty great week!

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