Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Farewell to Prairie Creek
This was the longest camping trip our little family has ever taken. And for the first time, it really felt long enough. Unlike Lassen, there aren't loads of different things to do up in the Redwoods. There's pretty much hiking and...uh...hiking, sleeping, eating. Not that that isn't wonderful. We spent a lot of time driving around Lassen. We spent very little time driving this year. And that was great.
Friday, we drove back to Trillium Falls with the tripod and I took the pictures in the previous post. Then, we made good on our promise to Mam and drove out to the beach. The road along the coast is dirt and full of potholes. I couldn't quite imagine driving all the way to Fern Canyon. We stopped at Gold Bluffs Beach...about 4 miles short of the Fern Canyon parking lot...and I'd had quite enough of the road by then.We were some of the only people on the beach who weren't surf fishing. The fishermen (and women) seemed to be pretty successful. Mam collected bits of dead crabs from the beach, while Daddy and I sat and chatted. Fortunately, the sand is dark out there. It wasn't a super warm day, but we were warm enough sitting out there on our blankets, eating the lunch I'd packed before leaving.Mam was a lot happier to be at the beach than Smunch was. Already starved for information about his San Francisco Giants, Smunch got in a little baseball on the sand instead.As far as hiking went, it was a light morning, so after we left the beach and returned to the campground, we headed back out for one last set of trails before packing up to head home. This time, we chose the Rhododendron Trail. It sounded nice and it didn't disappoint.This hike was on the steep side compared to many of the others we'd taken. We chose to go down the "strenuous" South Fork trail rather than hiking up it. That was a good thing too. By the time we got to the top point on the Rhododendron trail, the kids were pooped.But the steep trail meant we were down and back to the van in no time.
Still no elk in the meadow near camp. So after dinner, I opted to go for a little drive, back to the spot where we'd seen elk a couple of days earlier, to see if I could find some bucks worthy of photographing. Nada. None on the drive there, none in the meadow there either. None on the way back...at least not until I exited the freeway on the way back to the park.
It looked like a couple of cars had crashed into each other at the bottom of the off ramp, but that wasn't the case. They'd just stopped quickly to take in the sights.There were five of these guys, grazing in the grass at the side of the ramp and later blocking the entire thing to traffic.
I took the kids back to see the elk when I got back, but the bucks were gone. Fortunately, there were a few out in Elk Meadow, so they still got to see some.
As soon as we got back to the campsite, Daddy and I set to packing everything we could, with our sights set on an early getaway the next morning. We hoped to stop near Eureka for breakfast at the Samoa Cookhouse, which had come highly recommended.
Everything worked out perfectly. We packed up the food and the tents and headed off.An hour to a yummy breakfast of French toast and eggs and then home.
Oh, how badly this trip was needed. And, as usual, as soon as we got home, I was back to leafing through the camping book, wondering where we might be able to go in August!