I was impatient about booking a camping trip this year. In the end, that meant our reservations were for the week right after the end of school. We were supposed to leave Monday, right after the weekend baseball tournament. Fortunately, sorta, I got a phone call a couple of weeks earlier, informing me that our campsite at Sequoia National Park was still under SNOW.
The message indicated that they should be able to relocate us to a different campground, but in reality, they'd displaced about 1,000 campers and the chances were slim. So...I whipped out my trusty camping book and found a completely different campground in a completely different direction, which was available for the same number of nights, although not until Tuesday. Fine. Another day to pack and get our butts out the door.
We didn't leave particularly early on Tuesday, so we didn't arrive at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park until about 5:30 that evening. There was a large, rather magnificent herd of elk near the entrance. Awesome, I thought, we'd get to see plenty of them in the next few days. We'd have to, right? We were camping at Elk Meadow campground after all. But, yeah. Not so much!At least the foxgloves were pretty.
Daddy and the kids quickly got the campsite set up while I fixed spaghetti, garlic bread and green beans for dinner. S'mores for dessert (of course) and then a bedtime. Mam awoke the next morning, excited about our first campsite visitor:She kept track of this guy all the way through breakfast. Of course, he was far from the only banana slug we saw.
For our first day at the park, we decided to visit Fern Canyon. You can drive down the highway and up the unpaved road along the coast to get there, but we opted (out of sheer foolishness, probably) to hike there from the campground. It was a lovely hike through the redwoods, but it was also about 12 miles round trip...with two small children.Not surprisingly, there was a lot of whining, particularly from Mam. Daddy insisted she try some beef jerky, since she'd done a poor job of eating breakfast. That didn't go over well.
About five miles into our hike, we finally reached the signpost for Fern Canyon and stairs down toward the creek.Of course, we got to the bottom of the stairs and there was no sign of a trail. Fortunately, there was a ranger. Daddy had asked back at the visitors center if we'd need to walk through water. They said, no, just maybe some mud. They were wrong.
The trail criss-crossed the creek several times, requiring Daddy and me to take off our shoes and wade through the water. It would've been a whole lot easier if we'd brought our water shoes. Daddy carried the kids across the creek more than once too.
We barely saw anyone on our hike, but Fern Canyon was pretty busy. Obviously, most people opt to drive there and take the short walk to the canyon rather than hiking overland.It was certainly worth the trip. Even the kids seemed happy to be there and appreciated the steep walls covered in ferns. At that point, we were out by the coast and we took a short walk to the parking lot, primarily to use the restrooms, before heading back. Mam was adamant that she wanted to walk out to the beach, but it was windy and chilly. We promised to go another day.The hike back still involved quite a bit of whining and Mam eventually ended up on Daddy's shoulders. But we all made it and I think I was the only one with a blister. So much for my nice comfy hiking boots! At least Smunch was pretty happy and cooperative all day.It was another relatively late arrival at our campsite, so it was straight to making a campfire and dinner yet again. The kids were grateful for the break.