Thursday, October 2, 2014

detour: coastal camping

A few weeks ago, to escape the heat and smoke, the coast was calling. Last minute, no reservations, finding camping can be tough here. (Except when you know the hidden walk-in sites that other people think are too much work.)

tucked away in a canyon

ethereal tree in the slow river
treasures left behind

look where you step, creative home for a trapdoor spider

This campground is on a river, so close to the ocean that the should-be-fresh-water is salty. We settled in the camping gear, then off on a ridgetop hike. There used to be a great campground where this hike starts, but it has been closed for awhile, the forest seems to be slowly winning the battle to reclaim it. This is a lovely small redwood grove, all second growth. Imagine the person, coming up the coast exploring, finding this lovely place and thinking what it needed to be was cut down.

shady campground bridge

perfect fern path

massive trees towering
gnarled cypress guards the hilltop
fog on both sides, but clear trails

when clear, a glorious view
You can go up and over the ridge, and down to the ocean. But then you have to come back up again after relaxing on the sand. I've done this hike enough times to know that it is just as fun to stop at the view and turn around and head back (and go to the beach later), while the sun stays with us.
lovely queen anne's lace

dry grass with abundant seed heads

finding food in a spiky thistle

camouflaged forest denizen
I see the ridge of fog as we descend back into the canyon. This is a world of in-between: sun and fog, forest and meadow, river and sea. I think the beach is worth it in any weather.

an old barn languishing in the last of the sun

"the fog comes on little cat feet..."

an ocean bridge

empty, gray beach
The beach is a bit cold, damp, and almost deserted. Just the way I like it. We do carefully share the beach with harbor seals, the babies playing the water, the adults hauled out in the warmer sand. They like this place since it is where the river flows to the sea, good hunting grounds, and a safe family place.

harbor seals frolicking

humans always seem to need to build

but I think nature does it better
The fog has crept inland, and the campsite fire is welcome. In the morning it is foggy again as we pack. But as we drive home, the sun comes out again. You never know on this part of the coast, and that is part of the adventure.

perfect beach and sunny skies