Thank You Marie
As I stand here under a setting sun, dripping wet, sand rumbling, watching the last towering set of what will surely go down as one of the greatest swells in Southern California history, I can’t help but feel a little bit melancholy.
This final massive south swell, the monstrous creation of Hurricane Marie, the largest in a decade to develop near our coast feels like summer’s last gasp. Like mother nature has just placed an exclamation point on another epic season. I try to be hopeful, to look forward to the coming months, but it’s challenging.
This has always been the greatest time of the year...warm water, south swells, camping, family bonfires on the beach, spearfishing, the list goes on. Maybe it was destiny? I was born on the Summer Solstice, June 21st, the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. I’m a summer child born and raised under a blistering sun.
I think for many of us Labor Day weekend has that same type of subconscious psychological effect. The holiday passes and we all decide it’s time to hang up the trunks and bikinis, put the gear away in the rafters, and let the last few wisps of propane slip silently from the BBQ tank.
NOT SO FAST FOLKS... I’m drawing a line in the sand! Right here on the beach, this evening as I watch the sun’s last rays disappear behind the silhouette of Catalina Island.
Tonight, I’m putting everyone on notice. We’re taking back our Indian Summer and the glory of fall. This will also serve as the start of a new segment I’m going to do at the end of each season, one that will highlight the joys of the coming season, a few hidden or not-so-hidden gem locations right in our own backyard and the gear that will make it all happen.
So thank you, Marie, for ushering out one hell of a summer and for reminding me that Labor Day is not the end of one season, it’s the beginning of a new one.
So from this date forward, the fall means ... uncrowded beaches, campground solitude, surfing or stand-up paddling your favorite break with only a handful of friends, mountain biking on untouched single track, not seeing a soul on your favorite hiking trail and peaceful mountain reflection. Not sure where to find this peace of mind? Read on my friends, read on….
San Elijo Campground - Carlsbad, CA
Arguably the best beach camping in the state but nearly impossible to get a reservation in the summer. That is, unless you’re one of the lucky ones who logged on when the State Parks website opened up the registration at 12:01 AM on January 1st. In the fall, this place clears out and it’s an absolute jewel. You can RV, car or tent camp and the surfing, body boarding or SUP’ing is fantastic for the whole family. By the way, Bull Taco (a fantastic little Mexican restaurant) is located in the campground for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mom will love not having to cook. Trust me, I know from experience.
The must haves...
LifeProof - nüüd iPhone 5/5s Case- Don’t camp without a fully waterproof phone case! Not only will it give you great piece of mind, you’re going to catch some amazing moments of the kiddos in the water!
Fisher - 11'0" Blowfish Inflatable Standup Paddleboard Package - If you haven’t experienced the joy of SUP, this is the place. San Elijo is an ideal location to learn whether you want to paddle around the kelp beds or try your hand at paddle surfing. Fisher’s Inflatable SUP package is all you need for the family and it’s “very” portable. Though it’s a higher-price item, I know you’ll get years of use and memories out of this board.
Camp Chef - Big Gas Grill - If you’ve ever cooked for a family on a small stove or the fire pit you’ll understand why this is so high on my list. Backpacking is one thing, but if you’re going to car camp you might as well go big. With three 30,000 BTU burners, matchless ignition and and 615 sq. inches of cooking space this baby is the one! Hello, pancake breakfast.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park - Three Rivers, CA
Feel small in this world. Find your spot and just disconnect. If you’ve never been to Sequoia National Park … GO! Just go in the early fall when the park empties out and before many of the campgrounds close in October. For a great family spot, try Lodgepole Campground. Most of the more popular Sequoia sights like Giant Forest trail, Morro Rock, and Crystal Cave are close to this camp. The Tokapah Falls hike—a beauty—starts right in the campground. Feeling adventurous? Get off the beaten path and find your own hidden spot. That’s one of the joys of Sequoia & Kings you’re not restricted to the confines of the existing campgrounds. Not sure where to go? Email or contact me in the comments and I’ll give you some suggestions.
The must haves...
SOG Knives - PowerAssist EOD - Nylon Sheath Multi-Tool - If there’s a better camp/backpacking tool, I’m not sure what it is. I’ve owned this device for some time and I’m still constantly reminded of its virtues and versatility. Way too many features to mention in this post but I think it will suffice to say that it is my go-to tool for every job in remote locations, and you will absolutely love the PowerAssist capability.
Alps Mountaineering - Meramac Two Room Tent - I’m a big fan of tent camping in the mountain locations, Why? You might ask. Because often it allows you to stay in some of the more remote or secluded (read scenic and peaceful) campgrounds. The Alps Mountaineering - Meramac is a favorite because it has two rooms. As an added benefit entry doors on both ends allow for private access to each room. Easy to assemble, this tent is durable and designed to stand up to the elements.
Barska - 8x32 Point 'n View Binoculars & Camera - Some things are just too downright cool not to own! This device falls clearly into that category. State of the art integration of a high quality roof prism binocular and digital camera? Get out of the way. This is one of those “where have you been all my life products?’ Simply look through the binocs and record the image or video with the camera. Love it!
Joshua Tree, National Park - Joshua Tree, CA
There is something magical about the desert in the fall. Maybe it’s the temperature extremes or the magnificent sunsets or simply the tranquility. I’ve been to Joshua Tree during every season (yes, even the summer) and it’s the fall that keeps bringing me back. I love the smell, the light hitting the rock walls and the ability to hike all day and not see a single person. If you want to experience this for yourself, go in mid-October when the temperature is manageable with days averaging in the mid-eighties and the nights hovering in the high-fifties. The crowds are light to non-existent during this period and campsites are easy to come by. Try Jumbo Rocks, with lots of private, secluded sites tucked away in the granite.
The must haves...
Hydro Flask - 21oz Bottle GovX Limited Edition - Ok, if you haven’t picked up a Hydro Flask yet … run don’t walk. A little bit of shameless self-promotion here with the GovX Limited Edition, but seriously, this thing absolutely rocks. Cold for 24 hrs, hot for 12. I have yet to do my own research (it’s scheduled trust me) but I have a fireman friend who took his to the desert recently, left it in the car for 7 hrs at a temp well above 100 and came back to an “icy” cold flask. In fact he liked it so much his entire crew ordered one. Now thats a rock-solid testimonial!
Five Ten - Men's Guide Tennie Canvas Outdoor Shoes - No real explanation needed here; just a fantastic all-terrain shoe from the experts over at Five Ten that’s perfect for scrambling over rocky terrain. If you’re headed to Joshua Tree, you’ll be climbing some rock, and you won’t be avoid thinking, “I wonder whats over the top of that next ledge?” You’ll thank me later.
5.11 Tactical - All Hazards Prime Backpack - Don’t let the word “Tactical” scare you off. I own an All Hazards Backpack and it’s quite possibly the best pack I’ve ever had. The guys over at 5.11 are masters at blending tactical and everyday use. It’s my everyday bag with a twist. Versatile is an understatement … you can drive over this thing, drag it behind a car, shoot it, or even throw it off a rock when get to Joshua Tree. Go ahead, abuse it and see how much it can take.
Well, there you have it. My own personal fall escapes and favorite gear to support them. Apologies to those who aren’t based in Southern California. These are all within striking distance of Los Angeles, and I hope it inspires you to kick Labor Day in the teeth and welcome in the fall season in your own special way.
Now get out there! Explore, dream, discover
About Scott Seymour
The son of an avid outdoorsman and early waterman, Scott Seymour was born into an adventurous lifestyle. Having spent most of his formative years along the remote beaches of Baja California and the dusty backroads of nearly every mountain range on the western edge of North America he understands what its like to live off the beaten path and on the road less travelled. Those early years were spent diving, surfing, fishing, mountaineering, exploring, prospecting and getting lost and found literally and figuratively on a regular basis. While an atypical childhood it may have been, it forged an adventurous spirit and a thirst for life that has continued to guide him through adulthood.
As a collegiate volleyball player at UCLA, Scott developed a passion for teamwork and helping others meet their maximum potential. He went on to build a successful career leading and managing highly efficient sales teams for various national and global organizations. In 2008, feeling that familiar yearning for adventure he made a career 180 and for the past several years has worked as a bail and recovery agent in Southern California. Scott is also a registered EMT and first responder and will be starting the fire academy in January of this year with the goal of becoming a paramedic.
A self proclaimed “gear junkie” Scott can still be found most days researching and testing new equipment and strategies while stand up paddling, surfing or exploring the coastlines of Southern California or Mexico.
He resides in San Clemente with his wife and two junior watermen.