The Mighty Junebugg – a June of all Trades


HAPPY CAMPERS – NOW TAKING RESERVATIONS!!!

Has the economy got you down? Are you yearning for a vacation but just can’t afford a plane ticket to paradise? Fear not my friend, PARADISE is in our own backyard, explore the great outdoors! Happy Campers is a unique camping tour service. For those that don’t know “how” to camp, we teach you. For those that do, we show you more! Your trip guides are a chef and an archaeologist. Both of us are experienced campers and will show you the ropes on everything from pitching a tent and building a fire to hiking “smart” and getting the most out of your nature experience.

We take groups of 2-12 people on camping trips lasting from 3 days to 2 weeks. Each trip is custom fit to YOUR NEEDS & DESIRES. We can camp on the beach an hour away or at one of our Nation’s beautiful National Parks 5-6 hours away. We tell you what to bring, show you how to set up camp like a pro and even cook gourmet campsite meals for you! Abigail, our resident archaeologist, will teach you about the geography of the area we camp and hike in as well as show you how to keep an eye open for traces of old civilizations. We will also teach you basic survival skills. Don’t worry, this isn’t boot camp, there is plenty of time for relaxing and just enjoying your surroundings.

Trips start as cheap as $50/person. This fee includes all your meals, snacks, firewood and campsite fees for the trip. You bring your tent & sleeping bag and we’ll show you how to use it. Make your reservations now! We will be guiding trips from April to August anywhere within 8 hours driving distance from Southern California. Camping is fun & affordable and there are many BEAUTIFUL places here in the US worth exploring. Come enjoy Nature with us!

Leave a comment with your email address and we will contact you about planning your trip. Gather your family or a group of friends and lets go camping!

Check out some of out past trips:

Zion National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Redwoods National Park

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Grand Canyon National Park



Zion National Park: Day 1
September 18, 2009, 11:02 pm
Filed under: camping, Cooking, Life, National Parks, Road Trip, Travel, Utah, Zion National Park

Since its almost that time of year again, I thought I’d post up a trip from last October. Zion National Park is an amazing place, add the colors of Fall and it really does feel like heaven on Earth. I’m planning another trip to Zion in the middle of this October 09 and would love company, if you want to come along… let me know!

Zion is part of the “Grand Staircase” which includes the Grand Canyon and Brice Canyon. The Grand Staircase refers to an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon. In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps.

Zion is about a 7 hour drive from Long Beach and is about an hour past St. George, Utah. On this trip we left at midnight. Along the way we stopped for breakfast and grocery shopping so we arrived around 10 am. There are two campsites in the park but South Campground doesn’t require reservations. There are no showers in the campground but take a two mile drive into town and there are pay showers available. We set up camp and thought we would sleep for a couple of hours before exploring our surroundings. After about 3 minutes in the tent, we knew it would be impossible to sleep. We were too excited AND tents are like saunas during the day time. It was in the 80’s and the skies were bright blue. It made a beautiful contrast against the beautiful red rocks that make up Zion’s canyon.

the view from our campsite at South Campground

the view from our campsite at South Campground

We got ready and went out to hike and explore.

Junebugg, your favorite happy camper

Junebugg, your favorite happy camper

Zion is open year round but April through October, cars are not allowed to drive to the points of interest. There just isn’t enough room to accommodate all the cars during this busy season so the park offers a wonderful tram service that runs very frequently and stops at every point of interest. The tram is air conditioned, free and offers an audio tour during its route.

the Zion tram system is also powered by natural gas or something like that

the Zion tram system is also powered by natural gas or something like that

Zion rocks!

Zion rocks!

Fall leaves in Zion. This pic was taken along the trail up to Weeping Rock

Fall leaves in Zion. This pic was taken along the trail up to Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock in Zion National Park, 800 year old water filters through drips from the rock. I felt like I was getting blessed by holy water

Weeping Rock in Zion National Park, 800 year old water filters through drips from the rock. I felt like I was getting blessed by holy water

Fall leaves against crisp blue sky

Fall leaves against crisp blue sky

Love is everywhere

Love is everywhere

Fall leaves

Fall leaves

the colors were simply amazing!

the colors were simply amazing!

reds, oranges & yellows against the last of the green

reds, oranges & yellows against the last of the green

Along the hike up the Three Pools... almost to the 3rd pool!

Along the hike up the Three Pools... almost to the 3rd pool!

deer aren't afraid of people & wander comfortably thru the campground

deer aren't afraid of people & wander comfortably thru the campground

Wild Turkey was our poison of the trip... and it was wild!

Wild Turkey was our poison of the trip... and it was wild!

Chicken Curry with boilermakers was a nice way to end the day

Chicken Curry with boilermakers was a nice way to end the day



Zion National Park: Day 2
September 18, 2009, 11:02 pm
Filed under: camping, Cooking, Life, National Parks, Photography, Road Trip, Travel, Zion National Park

We woke up and made some breakfast. Today we planned to take the tram up to the top of the canyon and get off at the last stop, the Temple of Sinawava. We brought water shoes and planned to hike back down towards our campground IN the Virgin River which carved the canyon over millions of years. The water is knee deep or so and I recommend a hiking stick to help balance yourself while walking over smooth and sometimes slippers round rocks that pave the riverbed.

spam & rice was a lovely way to start the day

spam & rice was a lovely way to start the day

honey, ginseng, chai tea for breakfast

honey, ginseng, chai tea for breakfast

the tram route

the tram route

WuTang Rock in Zion National Park hee hee

WuTang Rock in Zion National Park hee hee

We hiked in and along the Virgin River all day

We hiked in and along the Virgin River all day

Zion rock formations

Zion rock formations

Junebugg the happy camper

Junebugg the happy camper

the road is red in Zion because they used rock quarried locally

the road is red in Zion because they used rock quarried locally

a motorcycle tent trailer!

a motorcycle tent trailer!

pasta & Modelo for dinner

pasta & Modelo for dinner

night cap... the Wild Turkey in action!

night cap... the Wild Turkey in action!



Zion National Park: Day 3
September 18, 2009, 11:02 pm
Filed under: camping, Cooking, Life, National Parks, Road Trip, Travel, Zion National Park

On this day, we were going to hike The Narrows! We started off with a hearty breakfast to store a little energy for what was to come.

Hiking breakfast: leftover curry, eggs & turkey bacon

Hiking breakfast: leftover curry, eggs & turkey bacon

Zion Canyon is wide and deep but it comes to a place where the canyon walls rise up over 1000ft vertically. The opposing walls come within 10 or 20 feet of eachother and the Virgin River flows between them. At this point, there is no dry land to walk on, the river flows from wall to wall so hikers walk IN the river. Many people rent waterproof overalls & hiking poles at places like this but you can just wear old tennis shoes with no socks or water shoes. The water isn’t very warm but you get used to it pretty quickly. Along the river there are a few berms of dry land and if you apply for a permit, you can even camp on them. When hiking the Narrows, ALWAYS check with the ranger station about weather conditions. Even if the sky is blue, rain fall 50 miles away can cause flash flooding in the canyon and you risk drowning or being crushed by boulders or tree trunks pushed along in the flood. All the scary shit aside, this is my favorite hike on the planet so far!

almost to the entrance of the Narrows

almost to the entrance of the Narrows

the Virgin River glistening in the sunlight

the Virgin River glistening in the sunlight

it was finally time to step into the water and hike into the Narrows

it was finally time to step into the water and hike into the Narrows

Virgin River

Virgin River

Wall Street in the Zion Narrows

Wall Street in the Zion Narrows

a lonely tree hangs on to life

a lonely tree hangs on to life

Abigail fell in the water so we had to build a fire to dry her pants

Abigail fell in the water so we had to build a fire to dry her pants

we stacked some blessings stones

we stacked some blessings stones

DAMN!!!! Don't feed the squirrels, its serious!

DAMN!!!! Don't feed the squirrels, its serious!

Dinner after a long day of hiking

Dinner after a long day of hiking



Zion National Park: Day 4
September 18, 2009, 11:01 pm
Filed under: camping, Life, National Parks, Photography, Road Trip, Travel, Zion National Park

We woke up and packed up camp. It was time to head home but we planned to take Zion National Park Scenic Byway.

good ol' #85 was our home at South Campground

good ol' #85 was our home at South Campground

We took the scenic drive and had to go thru this tunnel

We took the scenic drive and had to go thru this tunnel

a view from inside the tunnel looking out

a view from inside the tunnel looking out

beautiful Zion rock formations and colors

beautiful Zion rock formations and colors

Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park

Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park

the canyon rose high above us...

the canyon rose high above us...

red rock

red rock

my car hit a milestone on the way home

my car hit a milestone on the way home



Arizona Road Trip Day 1: Hoover Dam
September 2, 2009, 1:38 am
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Life, National Parks, Road Trip, Travel

Just outside of Las Vegas lies a fascinating American monument. For the childrenless 20 or 30 somethings reading this, it might bring back torturous flashbacks of ancient school day field trips to boring relics built by really old people. I assure you this trip was both fascinating and entertaining. We were headed to Grand Canyon but decided to stop at the Hoover Dam just to say we had been there. This was to be a 4 night, 5 day adventure ending at Slide Rock near Sedona, AZ. We woke up before the sun on Monday morning and were on the road by 5 am. By doing so we were able to avoid all the rush hour traffic. After driving for 3 hours, hunger set in and we decided to stop in Baker at Bob’s Big Boy for some breakfast.

Abi & June with good ol' Bob in Baker

Abi & June with good ol' Bob in Baker

91 degrees F at 8am according to the world's largest thermometer

91 degrees F at 8am according to the world's largest thermometer

Another hour & 45 minute drive and we were at Hoover Dam! I haven’t been there since I was a kid and a lot had been done since I was there last. An amazing desert colored visitor center and entrance had been built.

the new entrance & visitor center for the dam

the new entrance & visitor center for the dam

No alcohol or guns.... Best Sign Ever

No alcohol or guns.... Best Sign Ever

this place had higher security than an airport to enter

this place had higher security than an airport to enter

Drawings of what lies beneath at the dam

Drawings of what lies beneath at the dam

the turbine room creates electricity! (sorry for the blurry pic)

the turbine room creates electricity! (sorry for the blurry pic)

they use cool trikes like this to get around inside the massive dam

they use cool trikes like this to get around inside the massive dam

Face of the dam, I really wanna see someone skateboard this!

Face of the dam, I really wanna see someone skateboard this!

Visitors used to enter thru the two towers you see, now its more high tech

Visitors used to enter thru the two towers you see, now its more high tech

looking at the water that comes out of the damn dam

looking at the water that comes out of the damn dam

the ingenuity used in building these structures amazes me

the ingenuity used in building these structures amazes me

Las Vegas is only 35 miles north of Hoover Dam

Las Vegas is only 35 miles north of Hoover Dam

looking strait down the bowl of the dam (this makes your tummy tickle)

looking strait down the bowl of the dam (this makes your tummy tickle)

the Hoover Dam Bypass is scheduled to be complete in late 2010

the Hoover Dam Bypass is scheduled to be complete in late 2010

This bridge is an amazing feat and has even been on cable tv’s Extreme Engineering. When complete in 2010, it will be the World’s biggest arch bridge and help to alieveiate traffic on the 2 lane hwy that crosses the dam itself. Its cool to have been able to witness such an amazing structure in its building stage. Check out the tv episode about it of you have a chance, its pretty interesting.

Water levels have dropped drastically in recent years, notice the white line on the edge

Water levels have dropped drastically in recent years, notice the white line on the edge

Driving across the dam takes one from Nevada to Arizona

Driving across the dam takes one from Nevada to Arizona

Many men died while building this dam, I wonder if its haunted

Many men died while building this dam, I wonder if its haunted

they had some cool Art Deco metal work, I loved this Aquarians ass!

they had some cool Art Deco metal work, I loved this Aquarians ass!

rubbing the feet of this giant winged person is supposedly good luck

rubbing the feet of this giant winged person is supposedly good luck

I always gotta give a shot out to California... & LONG BEACH while I'm at it!

I always gotta give a shot out to California... & LONG BEACH while I'm at it!

after the damn we stopped at a seedy chinese buffet in a scary small redneck town

after the damn we stopped at a seedy chinese buffet in a scary small redneck town

the cocktails were damn good and a great way to celebrate our trip to the dam!

the cocktails were damn good and a great way to celebrate our trip to the dam!

So we were feeling pretty sleepy at this point but our next stop was the Grand Canyon and the anticipation was high! Another 3 hour drive and we were finally at the Grand Canyon. When you get there, the canyon isn’t visible; it just looks like desert for as far as the eye can see. We paid our National park entrance fee of $25; which is good for one car for 7 days. Once inside the park we went to check out campgrounds. Since it was the middle of the week, we didn’t make reservations… luckily we found a spot at Mather Campground. The campground had warm pay showers and we were content. There wasn’t much daylight left so we hurried to set up camp.

Home Sweet home for the next 2 days

Home Sweet home for the next 2 days

This is our kitchen setup (where the magic happens)

This is our kitchen setup (where the magic happens)

We didn't make it to the rim in time for sunset, this is from the campsite

We didn't make it to the rim in time for sunset, this is from the campsite

It was a full moon at the rim and the canyon was MAGNIFICENT! We joined the ranger along with 400 other tourists for a full moon nature walk. There were so many people it was hard to hear but still spectacular

It was a full moon at the rim and the canyon was MAGNIFICENT! We joined the ranger along with 400 other tourists for a full moon nature walk. There were so many people it was hard to hear but still spectacular

The visitor center had some children's wisdom: "Don't step on plants"

The visitor center had some children's wisdom: "Don't step on plants"

"Don't take sticks or branches or bark for a fire"

"Don't take sticks or branches or bark for a fire"

"Don't cut the flowers with a knife."

"Don't cut the flowers with a knife."

By this time were  we so tired we could barely keep our eyes open. We went back to camp, scrounged up some dinner and went to bed. In the morning we were going to see the canyon by the light of day, and we could hardly wait!



West Coast Road Trip: Day 2
August 21, 2009, 5:06 am
Filed under: camping, Life, National Parks, Oregon, Travel, West Coast Road Trip

We woke up and started packing. Our next destination on the trip was Crater Lake National Park and it was gonna take about 4 hours to drive there. I was sad the leave the festival but excited for the journey ahead. I snapped a couple more festival pics and we were on our way!

place your butts here

place your butts here

carved lion on stage

carved lion on stage

NW World Reggae Festival

NW World Reggae Festival

the Kingsford Charcoal factory was right down the road for the festival

the Kingsford Charcoal factory was right down the road for the festival

our guides for the trip worked WAY better than the GPS

our guides for the trip worked WAY better than the GPS

the Quality Fence Company has some suspicious looking logos!

the Quality Fence Company has some suspicious looking logos!

We stopped at Colliding Rivers viewpoint

We stopped at Colliding Rivers viewpoint

Kristi, Kelly and I dipped our dogs in the water

Kristi, Kelly and I dipped our dogs in the water

Bug Farm Rd!

Bug Farm Rd!

this helicopter scooped up water from the river RIGHT NEXT to our car

this helicopter scooped up water from the river RIGHT NEXT to our car

we took the Rogue Umpqua Oregon Scenic Byway to Crater Lake

we took the Rogue Umpqua Oregon Scenic Byway to Crater Lake

We followed the Umpqua River most of the way

We followed the Umpqua River most of the way

the Umpqua River

the Umpqua River

um... yeah, I'll pass on the Dread and Terror section if the trail!

um... yeah, I'll pass on the Dread and Terror section if the trail!

These dense, tall, skinny trees told me we were close to an ancient volcano

These dense, tall, skinny trees told me we were close to an ancient volcano

ok, really it was the map but I did notice a change in folliage

ok, really it was the map but I did notice a change in folliage

A pumice desert... I should have ran barefoot thru it to soften up my feet

A pumice desert... I should have ran barefoot thru it to soften up my feet

2009 O'Neill Vacay!

2009 O'Neill Vacay!

at last... Crater Lake!!!

at last... Crater Lake!!!

Wizard Island in Crater Lake

Wizard Island in Crater Lake

the O'Neill girls

the O'Neill girls

Junebugg the Explorer!

Junebugg the Explorer!

a mesa on the edge of the lake

a mesa on the edge of the lake

Crater Lake is in a cauldera

Crater Lake is in a caldera

This is where it gets a little crazy. We got to the campground around 5pm and we were dying to take showers. We waited in line to get a campsite and the guy in front of us got THE LAST ONE!!! Well us O’Neill girls weren’t gonna take that for an answer. We drove around the campground looking for people that might wanna take us in. To our suprise, no one looked compatible. We noticed a lot of empty reserved spaces though and couldn’t imagine that so many people would come so late. We found a large site to squat on and no sooner did we set up our tent, than the real tenants of the site pulled up. We bated our eyelashes, pleaded our case and they ended up being cool with it. We had our tent set up in their site and our fire and stove set up in the next site over which was reserved for the fire fighters who had been fighting the fire I talked about earlier. We were so proud of our resourcefulness! Finally we got our well earned showers, cooked dinner and settled in around the campfire.

Cheers!

Cheers!

the Crater lake wine was delicious

the Crater lake wine was delicious

Smores were the perfect way to top off the evening and then it was time for bed

Smores were the perfect way to top off the evening and then it was time for bed

That night we froze our asses off. Kristi wanted to use the tarp and I thougt we didnt need to bother… boy was I wrong. Even though there was no rain, the moisture in the air soaked into our sleeping bags and we shivered all night long.