Welcome to the Cranky Camper

Formerly Rochelle Haas and Co

Why am I here? -Sami

I’m Rochelle Kate Haas, blogger and educator based in the Greater Los Angeles area, specifically the San Gabriel Valley. While I essentially grew up in California, I originated on the East Coast and moved westward on account of my father’s military service. Well that and the fact that my mother, who is from the tropical Philippine Islands, absolutely hated Midwestern winters. The result of that cross-country journey was a lasting love of travel, especially road-tripping.

Fast forward more than a few years, I have four children, a dog, and two bunnies, in one of the most community-oriented neighborhoods in the SGV. Thanks to Dad, I still love travel and the outdoors. My idea of a perfect day is a trek in the mountains, surrounded by tall evergreen trees, overlooking sweeping vistas. I have learned however that not all my kids feel the same way, especially as I’m dragging my youngest to ‘yet another stupid national park’ (insert eye roll). After a 2020 trip that began with a fight to even get out of the car and hike less than half-a-mile to see the famed General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park, my Sami is the inspiration for the updated look and name. I am still learning how to balance our differing expectations, but I have learned too that once she gets outside, she will start to get into the adventure and have fun. Especially when we’re hiking or camping with our dog.

And so my five-year labor of love has evolved into The Cranky Camper. Here I will continue to share my love of the outdoors and travel, along with tips we’ve learned along the way. Many of the posts featured here tell a story of our experiences, including our mistakes and mishaps, hopefully with a bit of Haas family humor sprinkled in. My hope is to encourage everyone with a love of travel and the outdoors to take those opportunities. I have learned that travel can and should be affordable and accessible to anyone, with a bit of planning and prioritization.

A trail run with our pupper, Owen at Van Tassel above Duarte, California.

To complete the about me, my other passion is education and advocacy for the students and families I serve as a member of our local board of education and those I serve as a middle school science teacher. For years, I have taught, tutored, and spent many a day volunteering at the kids’ schools in many PTA and site roles, all in the hope of giving my own students and their peers the best chance possible. I have learned much from the experiences, and I still continue to learn. I give credit to my dad for instilling the love of helping others and community service in myself and my sisters. And I am thankful for the road it’s taken me on, especially since it’s not one I would have chosen for myself.

I hope one day to be able to unite the two, especially since there is ample evidence to show the very positive effects of being in nature to mental health and emotional well-being. A dream is to be able to have increased outdoor programming for our students, knowing the benefits it would have to them. Until then, I’ll continue to share the places I’ve gone with the kids, as well as safety and other logistical tips. Because life is an adventure meant to be shared.

See you outside! Happy trails.

Classroom photo credit: Ms. Becky Torres

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