Some fleeting thoughts of the memorial week car camping

P Chang
4 min readMay 29, 2024

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National park is always a good idea for the Memorial long wweekend.

And it never goes wrong if you live in California.

A few years ago a native Californian brought his whole young family to Texas in the lure of its low tax and big big houses. It took him only a few years to move the family back. The reason was very Californian. He could not stand the fact that the whole Texas only has one national park and very limited public land for its residents to bring their loved ones to explore and relax.

More than 52% of California’s land are public accessible. What a blessing to its residents!

And it is a sort of pilgrimage trip to remember those soldiers who never came home. They sacrificed their young lives for these beautiful trees and clean rivers and endless beaches.

You can live with the same Marino base layer top and the REI co-op fleece pants day in and day out for a very physically active sweating five days; and you can also live through it without shower nor shampooing.

And in the end I did not smell (badly) either, except some strong hint of smoke from the four nights camp fires we made. This reminded me of my early childhood years when taking hot shower was a super luxury event only happened once in a month, in an overcrowded public bath house on my mom’s college campus. Did we smell badly back then? Maybe I did but since everyone only took shower once a month or even longer so we might have had developed some high ignorance or capability of suppressing bad body smell.

This Spider-Man has a long way to go home.

I even picked him up and moved him to a place closer to the ocean. I gently touched one of his hands as a handshake and I wish him good luck on his way home.

These big leaf maple trees were trying to speak to me on something.

The iPhone lens could barely do the justice of their grandeur posture and glistening color of the moss on their trunks as well the lush tender green on their leaves.

I could hardly keep my eyes away from them. They are among the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen.

The river can be as still as a pond while carries you gently downstream like in a slow motion movie

The happiness came too soon! In no time I was able to allow myself go solo for kayaking in a real river! The water was so calm like a mirror. I could get to the middle of it and then stop peddling. I went with the flow, let the gentle river slowly push me downstream, in the early mornings when almost everyone else was still sleeping. There were tiny inch long fishes kept jumping out of water with a flash of their silver bodies. The only surrounding sound were the singing of the birds.

I was in heaven.

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P Chang

It all started with the 2020 SIP, when suddenly you became very reflective.