Happy 4th of July! I’m back after 5 nights of camping in the Humboldt Redwoods with family. I had every intention of blogging from our campsite and even had posts ready to go, but no cell reception through most of the trip even though the coverage map showed there was coverage – it lied! Disconnecting to enjoy nature hasn’t been a bad thing, but my inbox and Feedly accounts are scary! That’s on my task list for today along with tons of laundry and washing my hair about 4 more times to get the smoke smell out.
The drive to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park took about 5 hours in an over stuffed car, but it was a beautiful drive and we weren’t sad to be leaving the triple-digit heat of the Sacramento valley to highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s.
We drove through a lot of rural areas without cell reception, so I felt lucky to stumble across Fresh and Bangin’ Eatery in Lucerne with great vegan options on the menu and a pretty view of Clearlake for lunch.
We shared the pesto panini after confirming it was vegan without cheese and the hummus flatbread plate before hitting the road again.
We camped with my sisters and their families and all brought tons of food, too much. But that was a good thing because it was at least a 30 minute treacherous drive from the Albee Creek Campgrounds to find any grocery stores. We went through a lot of Lightlife Vegan Smart Dogs, Mary’s Vegan Crackers, Aloha Vanilla Almond Crunch Bars for breakfasts and hiking snacks, fruit, veggies, etc.
I made a lot of interesting camp salads topped with tempeh, beans, and more vegan Smart Dogs.
Also grilled corn and made a lot of great veggie side dishes with potatoes, lentils, and zucchini.
The simply seasoned potatoes and lentil and zucchini made a very filling and hearty dinner one night after a long and active day.
And we took a road trip one day to explore, check out the state park visitors center, hike, then to Eel River Brewing for this Thai Tofu Pasta which was okay, a little greasy.
The campground was gorgeous! Of the three main campgrounds in the state park, this was the smallest and more remote one that was peaceful and right on the edge of a small valley with hiking trails and friendly deer happy to come right up to campsites.
After getting over the shock of chilly weather the first night, I actually slept very well crashing early after long active days and waking up early at sunrise.
It was great going for walks and runs early every morning to see the trees and wildlife.
One of my favorite running trails was a flat mile-long trail to the Big Tree area from our campsite, perfect to get a little hill training in around the campgrounds before heading on the trail to visit the trees and get in a pretty 3+ mile run.
But there were a lot of trail options to get in a run just around the campsite, my sister and I just picked a direction and explored. It was even fun just running the campgrounds every morning checking out everyone’s campsite and tent/RV choices for future ideas.
We had some drama too. Shortly after we arrived, we checked out a trail head with my sister and ran into a park employee who excitedly told us it lead to a gorgeous 5.9 mile loop that took us back to the road to the campsite and worth checking out. Hubby felt comfortable after checking out the loop on the trail map provided by the campsite and we took that trail on with my sister. Well the distances on the map weren’t accurate, it ended up being a 15 mile loop with about a 2,200 feet altitude climb! 12 miles in, we were able to radio back to the campsite to have my sister’s husband pick us up on the road since we were wiped. We could have limped back to the campsite, but would have packed more water and gear for that distance and had tortured my sister enough at that point. The scenery from the hike was gorgeous and I felt pretty good considering I went for a 3-mile trail run before.
My total step count for that day was over 35,000 steps – oops, still sore from that one! And we’re bringing a hiking GPS on the next camp trip! My sister did awesome taking on such a challenging hike, but I felt bad for putting her through that surprise!
It was a scramble yesterday morning to pack up the campsite, stuff everything back into cars, and start the long drive home. So it was nice to stop for a leisurely patio lunch at the Blue Wing Saloon where I got this veggie mushroom stir fry.
Whew, it was a good trip and great to spend time with family and disconnect with nature. Especially considering it will be my last vacation for a bit heading into some big projects and stressful short staffed times at work this summer. Camping is not something that comes easily for me. I camped with family as a kid, but never really got into it in adulthood until we started our annual family tradition last year. It’s a good thing because there is so many great camping opportunities in California that are nearby and the weather is usually perfect in the summer to get away from the heat here. I’m really glad to get the opportunity to hang out with family and enjoy beautiful scenery while expanding my comfort zone. 4 days and 5 nights might have been a bit much, we were all a little cranky and tired by the last night, the next trip will probably be 3 days, 4 nights.
I’m sure I’ll be writing more as I go through the tons of pictures on my phone, but I have a lot to do today to get back to reality and the grind from catching up with email, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, and more!