Bass Lake is a little lake in the middle of California.
It is home to nearly all of my favorite childhood memories, and I hope that it will be home to my girls' fondest memories as well.

My dad started coming to Bass Lake when he was little.
My grandpa loved the outdoors.
Hiking, camping, fishing.
He instilled that love into each of his five children.

My grandma was a good sport and came along.
She was more of a city girl, but knew how much it meant to her family.
When my twin uncles were babies she would tie their cloth diapers to a rope and row them out into the lake to wash them.
For reals.
No Pampers in those days, friends.
Then she would boil them in a huge pot over the campfire.
She recently passed away and we celebrated her long and colorful life at Bass Lake this year.
All of my aunts, uncles and cousins were there to share stories.  Out of all of them, the diaper one will always be my favorite.
Bass Lake doesn't exist without dogs.
Lots and lots of dogs.
Labradors to be exact.
They are a constant source of entertainment and a bit of splashing or trampling if you aren't careful.
Here is my dad and I when I was about 18 months old.
We spent all day at the beach, and all night by the campfire.  Cousins.  Aunts and Uncles.  Friends.
Playing.  Exploring.  Learning.  Talking.  Being together.
Simple.  The best, best, best kind of vacation.
I feel like camping is in your blood, or it isn't.
You either are raised a camper, or marry a camper and go camping just to be nice.
I am thankful to be both raised a camper, as well as married to a camper.
We even camped for part of our honeymoon.  On purpose.
Our hopes are to raise three little campers, and although it is so much harder in many ways, the stripped down simplicity, free of distractions, is honestly the best way to connect and make memories.
Some kids grow up pretending to be princesses, superheroes or pirates.
My brother and I grew up pretending to be at Bass Lake.  All year long we would go camping in our back yard.  Asking over and over again...
When are we leaving for Bass Lake?

In two more months we are going back.
I can't wait.
I want my kids to have pictures like this.
Memories like this.
Bonds like this.
Once campfire scented load of laundry at a time.


  1. Love it! I was raised a camper amd married one, too. Great photos!! Reminds me I haven't posted ours from a few weeks ago yet...

  2. We live in Fresno and go to Bass Lake quite often....lots of memories there too :)

  3. I LOVE Bass Lake! I had never been there until I started dating my husband. His Grandma has a cabin up there, so we get to stay at the cabin and walk down to lake. My mother in law goes for a week in the Summer and I come up with the kids to stay for a few days. We're actually going at the end of July and I'm so excited! They have amazing fireworks for the 4th of July, where you can watch from your boat on the middle of the lake.

  4. I am with you 100%. Those pictures could be straight out of my dad's family albums. Love, love, love it.

  5. Beatiful story and pictures, Julie. Boiling diapers?? That is some dedication!! I married a camper and am thrilled to give my kids that experience though my first time was as a teenager! My kids had all been by their first birthday. Lots of fun.

  6. love it julie!
    such wonderful pictures :)
    your grandma was the best....
    I live for family memories and stories like that.
    thanks for sharing!

  7. Those are GREAT pictures, and wonderful memories. All of my best memories are when my parents were still together were our camping trips :)
    I've been wanting to check out Bass Lake for awhile now. We were very close last summer, we drove past on our way to Sugar Pine and realized how close we live.

  8. Oh, and I had those same EXACT navy & blue Dove shorts :)hee hee

  9. Aww, I love great old photos! The colors and emotions you get from them are just awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  10. beautiful post and i adore your photos! thanks for sharing such a family memory and favorite pastime with us!

  11. What beautiful, precious memories. Thanks for sharing :)

  12. Oh that is so sweet! Thank you for the encouragement.... my kids haven't been camping yet... I NEED to take them...

  13. So cool. And I love all the swimsuits.

  14. Where did you grow up? I lived in Visalia, and we'd go to Bass Lake. I love how you nailed it on the head about campers: I am not one. Thankfully, neither is my hubby. It means I don't need to get cranky every time we plan a vacation. I totally love that there are people that love to camp, but my version of roughing it is only having one bathroom to share in an RV. :-)

  15. My husband and I camped for part of our honeymoon too. On purpose. :)
    We drove up the Cal coast and did b and bs and then camping, back and forth all the way up.
    It was fantastic.
    Our kids play camping all the time.
    It is great,
    And what wonderful, wonderful memories you all share.
    Loved this post and all the great pics.
    Love from,

  16. Ahhh. After the *second* read I understand that the twins were not IN the diapers during the lake-rinse and the boiling! Thought the babies were being washed in the lake and then you were just being funny with the boiling. NOW I get it :) Although I don't think I'd have wanted to swim in the lake again after the diapers went in...!

  17. I'm a born camper and married another. Now we're raising three boys to love it too. We're going next weekend in fact and they can't wait. They too play camping in their tent in the backyard all year long. :)

  18. I wish I was a camper but I married a camper so I put my smile on and do for the family. My girls love it. They just got back from a dad/daughter camp trip. I want to love it so I am hoping by doing it consistently, I grow to love it. Someday....

  19. i love it! i have never been to bass lake but i will. i am determined. love the pictures!

  20. We went to Bass Lake many times when I was little too! I have great memories there- especially of snow cones and the rock slide! How great that you have such a history there (and photos to go along with it!)

  21. Our family has a vacation spot like this in CO. Our grandparents went every summer and took us there too. Tomorrow we (my brothers, their wives, kids and my husband and son along with my dad) are all loading up the cars and taking our first trip back there in over 15 years. I can't wait to get some of the same pictures with our kids as we have of us from years ago.

  22. You said it perfectly, Julie. It is amazing how at peace I feel when we are all at the lake together. I am so excited to watch the girls and their crazy boy cousins grow up on the same beaches we did.
    - amy

  23. Born and raised a camper and got lucky enough to marry a camper too! I have only been to Bass Lake once but it was beautiful. We go camping for two weeks every summer just across Yosemite at June Lake. We have been going every year since our kids were tiny. My baby has been going since he was in the womb. We have made our best family memories there :)

  24. I love old pictures!! Those belong in frames...with starfish propped up next to them. ;)

  25. when i was little we would go camping for one week with my grandparents every summer. they are some of my favorite memories.

    what a wonderful way to celebrate your grandma!!

  26. It's every one of the reasons that I can not wait to make my little guys campers too. I'm a camper through and through, my husband - well, not so much. Hoping I can convert him to the married to a camper status this summer ... wish me luck :)

  27. OH my, I spent a summer there working at a camp! Loved it there. Nothing like a Forks burger. Was thinking about one the other day. La Cabana... best steak taco EVER! Love childhood!

  28. Our spot was San Clemente State Beach. My grandpa was a teacher and he and all his teacher friends and their families had been getting together the 1st weekend in Oct. starting in the mid 60s. I have so many great memories there. Unfortch we're stuck in DENVER so my family's camping tradition has been changed to whenever we can come home and camp at Pendleton.

  29. Awww, my Bass Lake was Lake Tahoe and I have some very similar pics of us kids running around in just diapers and the dads in their "groovy" short-shorts with long hair and the 70's stash ;) Good memories!