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Trees, Lake, Fresh Air and Camping: Long Branch Lake

on 22 April, 2015

Yesterday, The Kid and I went on a little adventure. For some time, The Kid has wanted to go camping. As we’re nearing the season – it has to at least be above fifty degrees overnight – we’re trying to find an acceptable place to go camping. Now, we’re not the drag along our entire house campers, we sleep in a tent and cook over a fire. Real camping.

It has been about a hundred years ago since we last went camping. We were living in California and our favorite place to go was in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Our spot was Kings Canyon National Forest and Sequoia National Forest… I stumbled on it long before The Kid was born, as I had been driving up the coast of California and just happened to pass a sign indicating “Grants Grove” up in the national forest. Something about seeing (at least part of) my name made me want to go check it out.

This place is heaven on earth. The first time I visited, I opted to stay overnight in one of their cabins and it just happened to snow about 8 feet over night. And I am not exaggerating one bit. When I woke the next morning, all the cars in the small parking lot in front of the cabins were completely buried. Buried in the sense that not only could you not see the cars, you couldn’t see the outline of cars. You would never have any idea that there were eight cars out there.

Best thing ever. I stayed five days and just fell in love with the place. The trees (giant sequoias in addition to the “ordinary” trees) and the fresh air, the beautiful meadow with wild animals and the crisp air; hell, just the solitude was amazing.

Okay, got a little off track there. We made Kings/Sequoia our destination for 15 years, on and off. When my son was born, we used to head up there summer and winter! We’ve spent Easter and Thanksgiving and even one Christmas there. We loved it there.

So, Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 8.47.26 PMnow that we’ve moved away from our beloved mountains and forests, we have to find a new destination. A few weeks ago, we headed to Pony Express Conservation Area, but it left us a little disappointed and we vowed to keep looking. So yesterday, we jumped into the car fairly early and headed out to check out a new destination.

About 225 miles from Kansas City, we visited Long Branch Lake. Only one side of the lake had developed campsites, but to their credit, they did include ‘primitive’ campsites and even walk-in camp sites. These were further back from the road and in wooded areas with very close access to the lake. These were pretty good as they provided everything that we were looking for and still had access to a real toilet! It was a bit of a walk, but still… these things can be important!

We hung out for a while, enjoying the solace. The temperatures were around a high of 55 degrees, and being right on the water it was cool. We also attempted to drive around the lake, but much to our chagrin, we couldn’t find a road that went all the way around.

We then drove in to the closest town, with a population of 5400, we drive around Macon, Missouri. They had all the basics one might need when camping and the folks seemed really friendly. It was awesome.

After some lunch, we opted to head back. There is something about driving 560 miles in a day that is exhausting. But I can tell you that there is nothing more precious to me than spending quiet time with my son. Singing to the radio and really talking. These days and the time I spend with him are priceless.

So, this place has risen to the top of the list of our sites for camping. We intend to keep looking, but we do plan to head to Long Branch this spring. We have gotten our camping stuff out of storage and made a quick inventory and list of stuff we need to purchase for our first camp out.

And for sure we cannot forget the camera. Like we did yesterday. So, I didn’t get any pictures. I didn’t even think to take any with either of our phones! Doh! I guess this means we have to go back, just to get pics!



2 responses to “Trees, Lake, Fresh Air and Camping: Long Branch Lake

  1. Julie says:

    I just returned from a solo road trip to MD and DC area. On the way back I drove the slowest 105 miles of my life! Through the Shanedoah Nat’l Forest. Skyview drive is amazing! I “camped” in my rental car in primitive camping area and must say I was impressed with the parks facilities. Local suggestion, Watkins Mill or Wallace state parks are good for a one nighter. Ha Ha Tonka state park, a bit farther and south, offers a burnt out mansion atop the bluffs of Lake of the Ozarks. Keep the campfires in the circle!

    • MacCupcake says:

      I am so going to check out your suggestions! Thanks!

      And ever since I was young, I have wanted to see the Ozarks… you might think that living this close to them for the past 11 years I would make the trip… but then, we never went to Hollywood until we moved outta LA!

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