For my birthday in August I wanted to go camping so we planned a weekend trip to Salt Point State Park. When looking for a campground in northern coastal California we chose Salt Point because:
1) it had one available tent campsite left at the time we made reservations in July
2) it had good reviews on Yelp (which were very useful when planning our activities).
Saturday morning I made a mean breakfast of scrambled eggs, oatmeal, and instant coffee on our killer Coleman camping stove. Needed to have a big breakfast for all the hiking ahead.
Our campground was just on the other side of Highway 1 opposite the ocean. To get to the beach we hopped across the highway and then hiked about a mile through some dense, but pretty vegetation.
We ended up at Gerstle Cove where the park had an information center. The park staff was super friendly and answered all our questions about the trails in the area, whale migration patterns, and tidepools. Unfortunately low tide was occurring around 2 am during the weekend we were there so we didn’t get to check out the tide pools at the prime time.
The coolest thing inside the information center was a stuffed osprey (sea hawk) hanging from the ceiling with a fish in its claws. It sounds rather disturbing but the reason it was so cool is that we learned that the osprey is the only bird that carries its prey aerodynamically; it turns the fish so its head it facing forward when it flies through the air. Like this.
We hiked the Salt Point Trail from Gerstle Cove to Stump Beach Cove along the sea cliff.
After lunch we headed the other direction from our campground (east) to hike to the prairie and pygmy forest which were in the state park. After hiking over a mile up to about a 1,000 feet above sea level we came to the prairie. With the sudden change of vegetation, there was no way we were going to to miss “the prairie”, but just in case, there was a nice sign letting us know.
Then we continued on to the pygmy forest, thus named for its miniature trees. The trees don’t grow to normal heights due to a lack of soil nutrients and a hard ground layer. Personally, the pygmy forest was a bit of a let down for me. Maybe since I’m already short the impact was less. 🙂
Nothing like roughing it in the wilderness with a nice bright lantern, a bottle of wine, and some card games.
We were lucky enough not to see any fog all weekend until we started to head home on Highway 1 Sunday afternoon. On our way we also stopped at Fort Ross State Historic Park which I wrote a separate blog post about here.
We stopped at this taffy shop in Bodega Bay and purchased a pound of the best salt water taffy I’ve ever had. This led me to wonder why it’s called salt water taffy, clearly it’s not made with salt water right?
Wikipedia reveals that no one exactly knows why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_water_taffy.