Heading for the hills, a tale of one epic rendezvous
As it says on the American Adventurist website, "Every trip changes us. Big or small, you never come back from a trip quite the same as you were before you left." So is the case with our recent trip to the SoCal Mountain Rendezvous.
Our first night at the mountain rendezvous was to be spent with the crew from Overlanding USA, who we had known well through electronic interaction but had never met in person. At 9pm introductions were made at a Big Bear gas station and we headed down a nearby trail in pusuit of our campsite for the night. Although a dark moonless night the trail was bright as day with the glowing of each rigs LED auxiliary lights. Within what seemed like minutes we were setting up camp surrounded by darkness and unaware of the vast views in store for us at sunrise.
We awoke on a hilltop with 360 degrees of forest views and a vantage point of Big Bear Lake that few have experienced. After breakfast we packed up the rigs and headed back down the trail to the American Adventurist SoCal Mountain Rendezvous located at Camp Tahquitz.
Upon arrival, spotted was the all-familiar Southern California Club Xterra banner and we were invited with open arms to camp in their area. Throughout the evening stories of adventure were shared and I can tell you whole heartedly that the SCCX crew are a top notch bunch; we at Rogue Overland hope to share many more campfires with them.
Dave and his crew from American Adventurist run a highly oiled machine when it comes to the event. We attended two well-conducted classes on field first aid and trail recovery, and caught the tail end of the disaster preparedness class put on by Chris Wharton from Basecamp Expeditions, who has a wealth of knowledge in this field and is quite a character.
Of course when in Rome… or Big Bear as it may be this case, we had to hit the trail and put the rigs though a little test. We were led by Woody from the SCCX with a couple new friends to run the Pontiac Sluice trail. The trail followed a rocky narrow path, which both challenged us and led to more incredible views of the San Bernardino National Forest.
Once back in camp we sampled culinary magic created through the dutch oven potluck dinner, while chatting with new friends Ryan and LeeWhay about their awesome Unimog and its adventures. It’s incredible what a small like-minded community gathers at these events. During dinner conversations we had revealed that this past May, Ryan and LeeWhay were running the White Rim Trail in Utah right in front of us and now we are enjoying a meal together in a totally different location having never met each other before.
The event raffle was a great contribution to the weekend and says volumes about the organization running this event. We were excited to be able to give back and offer some Rogue Overland gear up for others to enjoy. We were even lucky enough to walk away with a couple items for ourselves. As the sun set the camp filled with sounds of conversations and the aroma of campfire, which made for a pleasant night under the stars.
In the morning we woke to the sound of a bear enjoying a few tubs of potato salad, once he had fulfilled his appetite and curiosity he moved on without incident. We packed up camp and said our goodbyes before hitting the road. We decided to take the long way home and do some scouting for a Southern California trip that we have in the works, but that is a story for another day! Put one of the American Adventurist rendezvous on your calendar; they put on a great laid-back event. From us at Rogue Overland.... Be. Live. Explore.
-Nick of Rogue Overland