Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

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Random Trip to Redwoods 2012!

   So I got back from that last New York adventure and was home for about 36 hours before I was out on the road again.
   Up in San Francisco my dear friends knew how to entertain a fellow -- the first day we went for a walk in a local redwood grove; then we played Settlers of Cataan; the next day we visited the Berkeley Botanical Garden, and the following day we visited the National Academy of Sciences. Pictured above is some humans in an exhibit! It's a carefully climate-controlled rain-forest thing. Pretty neat.

   From there I proceeded up to Sacramento where the lovely Laughy Sisters introduced me to some delicious local pizza, and we watched Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (the Swedish version) and drank some delicious beer.
   The next morning I headed to Davis for a quick pitstop at "Basecamp Mishka" (as I like to call it). Mishkas Cafe in Davis has good wifi, plenty of power outlets (is consequently almost always full of grad students doing their work), and only the highest quality coffee and tea. I recharged my electronic devices and discovered Mishkas has my favourite and very hard to find "Russian Caravan Tea." Also googled around to decide where the hell I was going next.
   After a delicious lunch at Plutos in Davis (one of the few places I'll deign to eat a meal that includes no meat whatsoever. The secret to an amazing salad: lettuce, croutons, bleu cheese, celery, apples, more croutons, moar bleu cheese, balsamic viniagrette), I was off to my next destination: Hendy Woods State Park.
   Hendy Woods is a redwood grove (well two of them actually) just north of Boonville in the Anderson Valley. Boonville is noteworthy because they speak Boontling there.

   This quaint apple farm just outside the campground had a self service store. They also had a sign that said "ask us about our farm-stays" if you want to go stay on a quaint apple farm in Boonville.
   Next morning I proceeded up to Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (PCSP entirely surrounds RNP). The drive up the the 1 was extremely pretty, stopped for lunch in the cute little village of Mendicino, investigated (Jean Claude) Van Damm State Park and determined its a good potential future camping location on the journey up the coast. Picked up a hitchhiker, a young fellow who's just headed out to make his way by busking with his guitar and hitchhiking and going where life takes him. He didn't even try to kill me once.

   At Prairie Creek I got the last campsite left, on the eastern side of the park. Only had time for a short walk that evening, which took me past where the ranger campfire programme was about to take place -- and I learned that campfire programmes these days are mostly powerpoint, with a vestigial token fire off to the side. Such sauce.
   The next morning I wandered around the forest for a bit on a trail that eventually seemed to disappear and leave me in the trackless depths of jurassic park. Remembering I had promised my mother not to get lost in the woods while hiking by myself I retraced my steps, and wasn't attacked by any velocoraptors or stormtroopers on speeder bikes (the Endor scenes of Empire Strikes Back were shot here). As I packed up my tent and headed out I still didn't know what I was going to do for the day -- if I wanted to make it to my friend's birthday party in San Fran the next day I'd have to head south this day, and that party was a significant reason I headed north ... but, and I don't know when exactly I made the decision, but (after a delicious breakfast of hashbrowns, eggs, locally-made-sausage, biscuits-&-gravy and ham at the Palms Cafe in Orick) I found myself instead driving around to the Gold Bluffs Beach campground and pitching my tent there. I hadn't driven all this way just to turn around!
   As soon as my tent was pitched it was time for the crown jewel of the park - Fern Canyon:

   The hike to the far end of Fern Canyon is about half a mile, but it connects to some other trails. I ended up hiking right across the park to the Prairie Creek visitor center 5 miles away, and then back again along a different trail. Twas a pleasant jaunt. Many banana slugs, some snails that were entirely a bright white, and some other snails that were black with red highlights.
   Ten + miles later I was on the final leg following the road to where I'd parked the car at the Fern Canyon trailhead when I came upon two elk, who had mischieviously taken up positions on either side of the road so I couldn't proceed without passing dangerously close to them. One of them adds insult to injury by sticking his/her tongue out at me AND mooning me:

   Rude! Finally a vehicle came by and I used the opportunity to get past the elk. Just past the elk I came across a snake crossing the road -- veritable wildlife traffic jam!

   Roasted hotdogs over the campfire for dinner that night. Got smore materials but quickly determined that yes I have very very little of a sweet-tooth and smores didn't hold my interest very long.
   Next day I drove all the way down to Davis. As usual I neglected to make any lodging arrangements ahead of time, and on this occasion, as I sat in Basecamp Mishka, I found all my usual lodging options were unavailable for one reason or another. Finally my dear friend Courtney, whom I haven't seen since college 6 years ago, came through and offered that I could stay at her place in Winters even though she wasn't there. But first I enjoyed a nice summer evening in the delightful town of Davis, listened to a pretty good live band playing on the outdoor patio of Sophia's (a place also known for the worst Thai food in Davis).
   Next day I made the drive the rest of the way back home to Orange County. Along the way I stopped at Modesto, where my grandfather happened to be visiting my aunt and uncle and cousins who live there, so we had an impromptu little family reunion for an hour or so.

   The End.

Dusk at Gold Bluffs Beach

( Entire picture set )

Tags: camping, redwoods, travels

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