California Travel Wedding

Weekend Away | Camping on the Kern River + Our Engagement Story

Kernville, California | April 2016


For those that know me and the Frenchman, it might be hard to imagine us camping.   It’s hard for ME to imagine us camping.

Don’t get me wrong… I love the great outdoors.  I just don’t like the part about sleeping in a tent with limited bathroom amenities.  The last memory I have of camping was back when I was a teenager and I was surfing the crimson wave.  Definitely not the best memory to be had.

Kern River

So… our good friends who love to camp decided they could change our minds and took us to a wonderful spot near LA that’s perfect for us newbie campers.  And I must say, it’s the best memory I have ever had of camping.

Why it was the best camping experience yet

Kern River Camping at Camp James

1.  We went off-season

We went to Camp James in Kernville for our first camping trip together.  My last memory of camping (which was probably 20 years ago! eek!) I remember there were tons of people on the campgrounds with tents stacked on top of each other that you forgot you were out in woods.  However, for this trip, we went in April and it was the perfect time to go.  Although there were a few people, we still felt like we were in nature.

Kern River Camp James Camping

2.  There were bathrooms!

Having access to the restrooms was my biggest concern.  A part of me wishes I could be hardcore and go days without taking a shower or living without a proper toilet and just enjoy the great outdoors… but I just can’t.  Luckily, the Frenchman is on the same page as me (actually he’s more high maintenance than me, so he does a good job of making me feel better about myself).

Kern River

3.  We were right next to the river

It was so nice sleeping next to the river.  Sounds we hear at home at nighttime usually come from our loud neighbors so the river was a great sound to hear whilst falling asleep.

The river also made for a great afternoon hanging out atop the boulders and indulging ourselves in a French picnic with cheese, salame, and rosé (of course!).

Kern River Picnic

4.  And since we were next to the river, we went rafting

We received a lot of rain that season (at least a lot for California) so the river level was pretty high which made for great rafting.   It had been years since I’d been rafting and it was actually the Frenchman’s first time and we had tons of fun.

Kern River Rafting

Kern River Rafting

Kern River Rafting

And the biggest reason we had the best time…

5.  We got engaged!

We had discussed marriage and had gone ring shopping together.  Side note: I’m pretty difficult to shop for so it’s usually better to ask me rather than surprise me. So… I knew the proposal was in the works.  We were planning a trip to France that summer and I was envisioning he’d propose to me in the lavender fields of Provence (a girl can dream, right?).  Well… in order to actually surprise me, the Frenchman proposed to me while we were camping… when I least expected it.

Kern River

He took me to the river’s edge and we sat on the rocks and looked up at the night sky full of stars.  Our friends were making dinner and all I could think was, “Why are we sitting here?”  So I kept telling him that we should go back and help our friends with dinner.  But he was insistent on staying and started to tell me about our lives together… and to be honest, I can’t remember too much of the conversation.  It was quite the blur once he got to the proposing part.  It was actually very romantic and since I’m someone that’s difficult to surprise… it was really nice to be surprised!

I admit the experience has changed my mind about camping.  Do you like camping? If so, please let me know if you have any recommendations for campgrounds for novice campers.  We haven’t been back since this trip and we’d love to do it again.


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