Sunday, July 19

Camping at Prairie Creek

We took almost 600 pictures on our recent trip, so even though there are a lot of pictures in this post, believe me when I say it was hard to narrow it down even this much!

We spent almost no time at our campsite this camping trip (good thing too since the mosquitoes were thick!) since we were either hiking or at the beach or going to campfire talks or fishing or just driving around exploring the area. We about walked our kids' feet off, I think. The first big hike we did was the Ladybird Johnson Grove, which was about 2.5 miles roundtrip. We went on a ranger-guided hike though so it took much longer than it normally would have, but we learned so much from Ranger Lowell that I was glad we decided to do that.

The next day we spent at the beach, which was freezing cold and foggy for the first few hours. Finally, between 1:30 and 2:00 the fog lifted and we saw what a gorgeous beach we were on! We spent a short amount of time tidepooling. We wanted to do more, but we missed low tide and didn't get to do too much before we were getting pushed ashore by the incoming water.

Both kids spent hours in the water despite how cold it was. Even when the fog lifted and the sun came out, the temperature was still relatively cool. They wanted Mom and Dad to join them, but there was no way I was going to get into that water! I enjoyed the day from the comfort of my blanket on the beach, reading a book or snapping pictures of the kids at play.

After the beach we drove around a little bit and did a couple of geocaches before going back to our campsite to have showers and make dinner. The next morning Daddy worked with the kids on some of their Junior Ranger projects while I got breakfast. Then we headed out to a freshwater lagoon for what we hoped would be a day of fishing. Unfortunately, the lagoon wasn't fishing well and hubby discovered his large reel for surf fishing managed to get broken somewhere during our trip so fishing the ocean was out.

We let the kids play a bit more at the beach and then went to the visitor's center to have the kids turn in the work they did to get their Junior Ranger badges. They promised to take care of nature and had their books checked, turned in the bag of trash they had picked up and then got their new patches and buttons!

Next we decided to drive around a little and see some of the sights. We did some more geocaching and then ended up at the Trees of Mystery where the kids were delighted to see Paul Bunyan and his sidekick Babe!

Our last full day in the redwoods was spent hiking Prairie Creek and the surrounding trails near the campground. The kids did their Junior Ranger program in the morning, then we had lunch, and then went on a ranger-guided hike in the early afternoon. It was my favorite hike of the trip! The trees are just spectacularly big and the forest is so quiet and peaceful (due in part to lack of birds which is due to lack of insects in the Redwoods).

The ranger took us as far as Big Tree, and then after a snack and short rest, we hiked back to the campground via another trail. I am disappointed in the pictures we took during our hikes. I guess I didn't realize how little light there really is in there, and most of our pictures are slightly blurry.

While I began packing up our camping gear the next morning, Daddy took the kids to the morning Junior Ranger program. The previous day's ranger was not the friendliest and not very good with kids, but my husband said this day's ranger made up for it! She was fantastic with the kids, and they had a great time learning about the life cycle of a Redwood.

After the program, we quickly finished packing up our gear and began our long drive home. Hubby had talked to a ranger who recommended taking a side road home through the Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and I'm so glad we did. It was so worth the extra time seeing more of the old growth Redwoods and driving right next to them, sometimes so close only one car can fit at a time.

We didn't get home till after 10:00 that evening, but we all agreed that our first long camping trip went very well and we will definitely be doing it again next year. We are already trying to decide where to go next!


Darcy said...

Looks like a fun vacation, filled with lots of things! I was telling Steven I had no idea the Redwoods were so close to the ocean!

Kim said...

Yeah, they are actually called the coastal redwoods, and the campground just north of where we stayed is right on the ocean, Del Norte State Park.

Chiree said...

Beautiful pictures! Beautiful family! I am so happy that you had a great time! Thank you for sharing your trip and the experiences you shared. Love and Light!


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