I wrote this while I was on vacation, in a very relaxed, wonderful place. SO glad I did that. I've been promising a report on our vacation and since have been struggling with a horrible ache in the back of my head. I don't know if it's the stress of coming back to stinky laundry mountains (someone please tell me how I can teach my kids NOT to put wet, dirty clothing or towels in the dirty clothes bag while camping!) and getting back to school things sorted out and planning the food for a big baby shower. Or it could be the heat or the lack of air quality here....I dunno, but my head sure hurts!
As far as camping goes, we have had just about as perfect a trip as we've ever had. The only thing that would have completed the trip would have been if our oldest daughter, Hannah, had been able to come with us. She has not been at her current job long enough to take a week off....bummer.
The last minute decision (4 days before leaving) to go to California instead of Colorado (rain rain rain) turned out to be a great choice! We are at Limekiln State Park campground in northern California, the southernmost part of Big Sur. (there were no forest fires in this area but it did close during the fires) This is an area where huge mountains come down into the ocean and the rocks at the bottom make for crashing waves and beautiful scope for the imagination (as Anne says). Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is a ribbon of highway cut into the edges of the mountains. It is an awesome drive with the mountains on one side and crashing ocean on the other.
At the place where two of these mountains come into the ocean, there is a wide crevice with a beach of coarse sand and huge rocks. PCH goes right over the beach on a bridge and if you are just driving the highway, you will miss this place if you aren't paying attention. As the crevice narrows and meanders back between mountains, the atmosphere darkens, the air cools by 20 degrees and you find yourself in a green leafy, moss covered tree roots and rocks, soft mulchy floored redwood forest. There are twelve campsites at the beach area and about 30 other sites that border the lovely fresh water creek that rushes through the redwoods from a tall waterfall a quarter of a mile in and makes it's way under three wooden bridges, then past the ocean campsites, across the beach and merges into the ocean. And it's as lovely as it sounds.
Our campsite is right on the creek in a spot where direct sunlight only teases us, the camp robbers (stellar jays) spy on us and conspire to swoop in the moment we leave to scavenge for food, and the crystal clear creek water gives a constant background lullyby. We sit here and read or play games or stare at the water and get soooo sleepy....very relaxing. But we get so cold in the middle of the day, that we wrap blankets around our shoulder and are almost out of propane canisters from heating so much water for tea. We try to move our camp chairs to tiny spots of sunlight that moves quickly through the camp around noon. Finally we head to the beach to warm up. The ranger here told us the temperatures at the beach are actually a full twenty degrees warmer than in the forest, about a two minute walk away. We shed our jackets down to sleeveless shirts and kick off our shoes and socks and soak up some warmth and stick our feet in the cold waves. There is a big bolder on the beach that will fit our whole family to sit and read or watch the ocean swells break into waves and splash up on the rocks. (we have to move when the tide comes in)
The pictures from our hike to the waterfall.