By Mara Dobyns

Gordie: “Do you think I’m weird?”

Chris: “Definitely.”

Gordie: “No man, seriously. Am I weird?”

Chris: “Yeah, but so what? Everybody’s weird.”

This quote from the movie “Stand By Me” makes me think me of the Doctor Seuss quote, “those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.” It’s exactly the kind of accepting and relaxed atmosphere I crave and appreciate anywhere but especially when I’m camping.

Recently some friends of ours invited us to go camp and enjoy Lake Britton. We jumped at the chance and set a date that worked for all of us. It would be my family’s first camping trip of the year and I knew the next few weeks would drag slowly by. They did but eventually it was time to pack up the car, the dogs, and kayaks and go explore.

It was almost a two hour drive from our home in Westwood and as we pulled onto the dirt road leading us to our campground we approached a bridge along the way. It happened to be the exact bridge they filmed the train scene from the movie, “Stand By Me” on. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a classic story about friends, heartache, life, death, growing together and growing apart while discovering the ins and outs of what it means to be a soon-to-be teenager in the summer of 1959. It’s raw, honest, and brilliant. I feel like camping in a place with such history (even if it was only a movie) helped shape the trip and brought us all together a little more. Even if we’re not adolescents anymore we’re all still learning and growing into the people we’re supposed to be and sometimes we all need that break from reality and to feel apart of something bigger than ourselves.

The campground itself was also something to see. Green trees wrapped around the edge of a beautiful body of water, clouds and highlights of peach and salmon during the transition to a night sky, a small waterfall, and the wild life. It doesn’t get much better.

My three-nager, Vivian, got a lesson in gutting fish and learned to say thank you to the fish for providing us with food from our friend Luke. Her facial expressions were priceless. Vivian and the dogs were also brave enough to swim, most of us got to kayak, some people went fishing, and at the end of the night we had a feast of food and laughter around a sparkling campfire.

Camping and nature for me are always a good way to clear my head and recharge. It’s peaceful and where I’m most content. I’m stoked my family got to go and adventure somewhere new and grateful for the friends we got to go and create more memories with. Of course we stopped by Burney Falls on the way home and if you’re ever exploring the area yourself there’s lots to see and do! There is a hiking loop that wraps around Burney Falls that is fairly kid friendly and only 1.3 miles. There are other trails in the area to choose from if you’re looking for something a little more moderate.

Don’t miss out on the Subway Caves and Lava Tubes that are only a short thirty minute drive away. If you’re looking to drive a little further to explore Mt. Lassen National Park is just over an hour away and Mt. Shasta National Park is about an hour drive.

The point is we live in Northern California and it would be silly not to take advantage of all the opportunities here so in the words of Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.”