Friday, January 27, 2012

HOLCOMB VALLEY (Big Bear, San Bernardino National Forest, San Bernardino County, CA)

If memory serves me correctly, Holcomb Valley in 1989 was my first ever camping trip here in the U.S. I was not an experienced camper, having only camped once before in 1975 on McCauley Beach in Northern Taiwan with the Girl Scouts at the tender young age of 10. And that was a doozy of a camping initiation, cuz we got hit with a major rainstorm and had to hightail it of there in the middle of the night to seek shelter. We found out the next morning that Chiang Kai Shek had died that night and wondered if the sudden downpour was an ominous meteorological sign that the Generalissimo was no longer of this earth. Considering his dictatorial reign and not always benevolent record, not sure if he was headed to heaven or hell. But I digress...

I have very few memories of Holcomb Valley except that it was in Big Bear near the town of Fawnskin, it was in the middle of December (and, therefore, freakin' cold), and we didn't have enough gear to keep us warm in the tent. Bottom line, if you're not prepared with the right sleeping bags and layered clothing for the <18F overnight lows, you're going to be miserable all night long. Poor Gil had to sacrifice his extra blankies for me, but that's what a chivalrous guy is supposed to do, no? Btw, in sub-freezing temps, don't brush your teeth the next morning in the tent and then try to gargle & spit out through one of those small zippered openings. The stuff just freezes midway and makes a general mess of things on the outside of your tent. Just sayin'.

Holcomb Valley's claim to fame is that its namesake, William F. Holcomb, discovered gold here in 1860 and the area produced more wealth in gold per square mile than anywhere else in Southern California. 

12/22/89 Bill the pit bull, climbing up a tree. A really great dog with a sweet temperament. 

12/22/89 Me & Elaine. Holcomb Valley campground.

12/22/89 Chuck, me & Gil. Holcomb Valley campground.

12/22/89 I'm pretty sure that stuff in the cup was fortified. 
And, why was I wearing those big honkin' earrings camping? Oh, yeah, it was the eighties...

12/22/89 Frosty!


Location: San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest, 5 miles north of Big Bear Lake off Forest Service Rd. 3N16

County/State: San Bernardino County, CA

Nearest Town: Fawnskin, Big Bear Lake

Management: U.S. Forest Service

Camping: Open year round, first come first served. 19 sites with picnic tables, fire rings & vault toilets. Campground host May-October

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