my first summer in the sierra john muir

Weekend at Table Mountain in the Angeles National Forest

By Heather

Table Mountain might be as close as we ever get to having a vacation home. Going there is (almost) always so pleasant and relaxing. By the time you finish breakfast on Sunday and are over camping, just pack up and go – you’ll be home in a couple hours.

A few weekends ago, we went with my best friend since college, her husband and their girls.

We switched things up a little from our usual Mojave loop and stayed in the Osage loop. Wherever you land, both loops have some of the best views in the entire campground.

Weekend recap

Three new things at Table Mountain this year:

  • Rattlesnakes
  • Scorpions
  • Coyotes

Because of the snakes, we were warned to make sure the campfire was totally out. The host said if we didn’t, we might come out in the morning to find a few hanging out around the ring for warmth. Fortunately, we never saw any.

That goes for coyotes and scorpions, too, though the host did bring a scorpion by in a bucket to show us what they look like. I… do not like those things. I also was not comforted by his claim that a scorpion sting is no worse than a bee sting.


The coyotes meant keeping a closer eye on Nabby than usual. They’re sneaky, quiet little opportunists, and Nabby is 14, going blind and hard of hearing. We never saw the coyotes, either.

Campfires were allowed, but they could be no more than 30 inches tall. Fair enough. A small campfire is better than no campfire.

Darren and I have a morning routine when we camp. He wakes up early to enjoy the quiet and drink coffee. I stay in the tent and read for a while and snuggle with Nabby if she’s still there.

It also seemed fitting this time to finish the last 50 pages of John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierra while soaking in the outdoors.

I’ll stay in the tent until the sun chases me out. This time, though, it was our slowly deflating air mattress that brought me out earlier than I wanted. This is our second Coleman Queen Double High Quickbed. The first one sprang a leak on the second use. This replacement one waited to spring a leak until about the 10th use. Don’t be suckered by the low price. This thing is junk.

After breakfast, we like getting our errands out of the way, so we drove into town to our beloved Jensen’s for some deli sandwiches and other necessities. Another thing I love about Jensen’s, aside from their tasty sandwiches, is their ample booze selection.


Their prices are also fairly reasonable for being an out-of-the-way mountain town:

jensen's wrightwood

After that, we came back, relaxed, lazed in hammocks, drank margaritas, ate marshmallows, started campfires and had a terrific time.