Well, I was planning to go to Crater lake. The trip was already planned, even the campground reserved. I even planned the small Crater lake boat tour with a hike on the Wizard Island.However, the higher authority had other plans. Due to all the huge amount of snow we got this year the campground was still closed. Well, it was there, but covered with 5ft of snow. If it was a wild campground then I would just go there and sleep on the snow – not like I’ve never done this before. But it was a commercial operation so they just refunded my money. But I also had to find an alternative plan.
What I decided to do is to go to the Redwood National and State Parks (they seem to come in a package). Camp there for one night. In the process visit Eureka, Ferndale, and some other beautiful places on the coast. It was a bit of a gamble on my part because the campground in the park cannot be reserved, at all. So we could end up with no place to stay.
Saturday, July 2nd, 2011
Starting very early with some hiccups we finally were on the road. My main goal was to drive through some beautiful rarely visited places in the state. As a result, after some coffee in Cloverdale we took CA128 towards the cost. The drive was beautiful – shaded winding road. Though it gets a bit annoying after a while. For some reason I thought that the other car was in front of us and due to the lack of network it was not possible to coordinate. As a result I just blasted through. Fort Bragg had a museum, a flea market, and some sort of biggest salmon 4th of July BBQ. We missed all that. Eventually we’ve made it to the historic Ferndale.
Ferndale is an interesting little town. Mostly farming and tourism. It is located very close to the coast a bit off the main highway. We’ve had late lunch there took lots of weird pictures and even played around on a veloricksha. There was a Loleta cheese factory tour nearby, but by the time I figure it out it was closed.
After that it was off to Eureka. It was interesting that it was very cloudy and cold in Ferndale, but sunny in Eureka. Those towns were not that far apart. I wanted just to walk around downtown Eureka, but that idea didn’t really find lots of support in the group. So we just wandered around a bit, listened to some Hawaiian drum concert next to the main fountain. Then asked for a decent local food recommendation and went for dinner.
The dinner was Asian, if I remember right, Cambodian fare. Quite good. Some local woman recommended this place, especially the soup with a melon. After dinner there was another long and winding drive to the Boise Creek Campground.
Sunday, July 3rd, 2011
Get up early to get the permits in the Thomas H. Kuchel visitor center. The things is that this park doesn’t charge for camping permits, it also doesn’t allow advanced reservations. As a result, to get good permits if at all one has to arrive early. We’ve gotten there at reasonable time. However, all the good stuff was gone already. All that remained was 44 camp. Oh, well – better than nothing at all. I would be quite at a loss if we didn’t get permits at all.
The access to the backpacking trailhead was actually behind locked gate. The park people gave us the key code to the lock. It was possible to get to the same camp from the open hiker trailhead, but it would add 5 or 6 more miles. Plus they said that car got broken into there. The backpacker parking lot was full. I was wondering where all those people were going or already went to. Hopefully, the campgrounds won’t be so crowded.
The trail was great – all downhill, shaded in giant redwoods. It was leading down to the Redwood Creek. The tallest accessible tees in the park were actually growing on that small patch by the river. It would be all fine if I didn’t have to carry that watermelon that Krishna bought. But it worked out fine and we were down at the creek by lunch time. After some lazy time there was a bit of a climb towards 44 camp.
It seemed that this side of the Redwood Creek was logged. The trail going to 44 camp was actually old road. The camp had a toilet, but no water. All the available places were actually on some old roads curved into the side of the hill and overgrown with vegetation. The forest was so thick that it would not be possible to camp anywhere else, so space was a bit tight. However, I didn’t see anyone. Where did that people from the parking lot actually went to?
After setting up camp I’ve decided for some short day-hike. We could follow some old trail that snaked around the hill then followed a smaller creek that met the main Redwood Creek. That trail didn’t really reach the Redwood Creek, but I figured that we can bushwhack a bit down and then get to 44 camp quickly.
The trail was great. I like those kind of trails – not too improved for lazy scared humans, full of trees and bushes. It seemed that it wasn’t used much. There were a couple of bridges. However, with all that rain and fog they had tons of moss on them. As an added bonus it wasn’t hot.
The bushwaking, however, didn’t fly. At all. The river was there, the direction was known. But the bushes were just insane. Nothing even remotely close to being passable. Redwoods don’t rot – they just lay there. We had to climb over, under, through, in the cold water and mud. The progress was very slow, people getting tired. I was afraid that someone can get injured and then we’ll be in really deep. As a result, sadly, I decided to turn around and go back on a known, but very long trail. It wasn’t actually as bad as I expected and we also saw very beautiful red sunset colors.
But the camp was reached already after dark. We also found that we had neighbors. A couple of college kids on their summer country tour. I tried to make fire but the wood was a bit damp making it difficult. Suji found that her beloved expensive iPhone got dunked in the water and was already out of commission. People were tired and hungry. The fire, with some help from the neighbors’ fire was going willy-nilly. It needed more wood to get the heat high enough to dry new fuel, but I was too tired to set it up. However, we still played some game with the neighbors.
Monday, July 4th, 2011
Get up, eat, pack. The weather was nice – warm and sunny. We’ve walked around the big trees and came out from the trail before lunch. In retrospect we could have done some hiking along the river and came up on a different trail. It would ave added a bit more mileage. After coming out we did a small hike around the Lady Bird Johnson’s trail – short, but very nice redwood grove. Good thing it was saved.
After the hike Suji, Jacqueline, and Krishna went fast back. Rita, Kim, and I sort of stayed back. I actually wanted to visit that Loleta cheese factory, but it was closed. We stopped in Eureka on the island in marina at Cafe Marina & Woodley’s Bar to eat some fish lunch. Tool it easy. Yet still reached home before the fireworks.
The trail can be found at Redwood NP at EveryTrail.