I love pasta and I love cheese, so this is the greatest camping dish I could have made.
If like me you are not a seasoned camper, and aren't used to cooking over a fire, this is a pretty easy (and ridiculously tasty) dish. The hardest part about cooking over a fire is that the smoke gets everywhere, but aside from that it takes about 20 minutes or so, depending on the heat of your flame and how long the water takes to boil.
Ingredients needed to feed about 4 with this beautiful dish:
a box of pasta from the shop (any kind of the small ones will do, we went for the spiral)
a tin of pesto - homemade if you have time, and a cooler
a lot of pepper jack cheese
salt & pepper to season
Honestly, I'm a lover of cheese and pesto so I tend to over add those ingredients.
Just add as much as you like (go on, add more)
So, get that fire started and start boiling your water.
Once you've got a nice boil going, add the pasta and let it cook for about 5-10 minutes longer than it says on the package. Add some salt and keep stirring regularly.
Take it off the heat and drain the water. Keep about a cup or so of water to add later on.
Then comes the fun part! Add your pesto and mix it in, then add your slices of cheese (YAY). Whilst you're stirring it all around, add the water that you have left over from the pasta as it will help in the stirring process of the cheese, and also help it not to stick to the pan as much. Serve over a bed of spinach to add a little bit of health to mix. You're going to need it with all the cheese you've got going on.
Top tip: buy a nice bottle of red and use it to accompany your meal.
Considering how traumatic our last hiking experience was, I was unsurprisingly skeptical about this one.
In true form, we arrived when it was dark out. Thankfully, unlike Yosemite, Joshua Tree is more open plan and has much smaller trees. Typically, he first two campsites were full and we thought we were in for another horrendous experience, but then we came across Jumbo Rocks Campground. Honestly, I’m pretty happy about the fact the others were full because Jumbo Rocks was a beautiful campground.
As we arrived there pretty late, it was pretty dark out, but thankfully the stars gave us a little bit of light. We started a fire (when I say we, I mean dad did, but I was there for moral support). I did sort out some killer tuna sandwiches for us though, so who was really the important one in that situation?
After a relatively good nights sleep, we woke up, changed and headed to the visitors centre to plan our day. Let’s be honest, we didn’t want a report of what happened in Yosemite! So we spoke to the lovely man behind the desk and decided on the Barker Dam Trail, a drive down Geology Road, a hike up Ryan Mountain, and a quick look at Skull Rock. All in a days work.
The grand old machine that's been driving us around.
Not an easy trail, but also not one of the hardest we've done. Three miles there, three miles back, but trust me when I say, going down is one of the quickest experiences. Going up on the other hand is a little bit of a pain. It's all worth it for the view though.
Just look at this.
Mountains, on mountains, on mountains.
This is the Instagram I obviously went to Joshua Tree for. Basic or nah?
It's a rock that's literally a skull.
Top tip: stay at Jumbo Rocks and it's legitimately just around the corner.
Oh, and we went to watch the sunset at a place called "Hall of Horrors" (not as scary as made out)
The next morning, we woke up at 6:00am to watch the sunrise. I love a good sunrise, but any waking up early for me is a feat in itself. So, everyone should be extremely proud of me, and we were heading to Las Vegas that day so I had something to be excited about. Vegas always gets bold writing because it's one of the greatest places on earth.
Top tips for Joshua Tree: Don't be like us, arrive when it's light out. Make friends with your campmates. Get a map of the park. Hike Ryan Mountain, it's worth it for the views. Get lots of pictures because the place is beautiful & stay in Jumbo Rocks Campground.
Next up, the best campfire mac n cheese you could make.
Dad and I love a good brewery, so I asked one of my friends to suggest one and she pointed us in the direction of the Stone Brewery in Escondido. You walk through a couple of big rooms that can be used for functions and the like, and also passed the shop and first bar. Then we came to the beautiful outside area where we were going to hang out.
Although we had booked a table because we weren't sure how busy it would be, there was space at the bar so we decided to perch ourselves up there. There were a wide variety of beers, including many the company brewed themselves, either on-site or at some of their other sites.
After leaving the brewery we headed down to sunset cliffs, because I love a good sunset.
Trust me, this one definitely did not disappoint.
Just look at that water.
After basking in the glory that was the cliffs we had worked up an appetite. I don't really know how... All that exercise drinking and watching the sun I guess. I'm a huge lover of Mexican food, as is SteveO, so as per the advice of my friend from college, Estelle (or Stelly as I like to call her), we headed to La Perla and got THE GREATEST BURRITO EVER MADE. EVER. If you know me, you know I don't give out that compliment lightly. I'm a burrito snob. I admit it. I should go to burritos anonymous I'm so obsessed.
Trust me though, book a flight to San Diego just for this burrito. It's to die for.