Browsing Cities

A blog/photoblog about places I go

Coastal California Camping: Salt Point State Park September 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiesmillie @ 2:59 pm
Tags: , ,

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

and

2) it had good reviews on Yelp (which were very useful when planning our activities).

….

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park

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.

Start the day with a hearty breakfast

Start the day with a hearty breakfast

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.

Hike to the beach

Hike to the beach

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.

Gerstle Cove

Gerstle Cove

We hiked the Salt Point Trail from Gerstle Cove to Stump Beach Cove along the sea cliff.

Stump Beach Cove

Stump Beach Cove

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.

The Prairie

The Prairie

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. 🙂

Pygmy Forest

Pygmy Forest

Nothing like roughing it in the wilderness with a nice bright lantern, a bottle of wine, and some card games.

Campsite fire

Camp fire

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.

Fog creeping up Highway 1

Fog creeping up Highway 1

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.

Particks Salt Water Taffy

Patrick's Salt Water Taffy

Salt water taffy

Salt water taffy

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What is a high back chair? The importance of expectations July 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiesmillie @ 11:28 am
Tags: , ,

Last fourth of July — after picking a prime spot on the top of Lafayette Park in San Francisco — we failed to see a single firework through the thick fog. So this year we decided to finally use the tent we bought last summer to go camping at Lower Little Truckee Campground near Lake Tahoe.

Lower Little Truckee State Campgroung

Lower Little Truckee State Campground

With four fireworks shows in Lake Tahoe to choose from, we headed to Commons Beach in Tahoe City to check out our winter stomping grounds in the summertime.

Like any responsible millennial, I used my “advanced” computer skills to find a website featuring relevant information on the fireworks show.

Tahoe-city

The website states “low back chairs only”. So we decided to leave our fold out camping chairs back at the campsite. We got to the beach around 2 pm to hang out for the afternoon and secure a spot to watch the fireworks. There were a smattering of these types of camping chairs around, but I was naively thinking “I’m sure they’ll put them away before the fireworks” and “I bet someone will come around and ask them to fold up their chairs”

Now the definition of “low back chairs” is a little vague. But we are on the beach so presumably this refers to beach chairs.

To me, low back beach chairs look something like this:

low back chair

And high back beach chairs look more like this:

Folding-Arm-Chair-High-BackCampingChair

As time passed more and more of these high back chairs popped up all around us. By the time the fireworks began we were surrounded by hundreds of them in different shapes, colors, and sizes. But luckily it didn’t matter, we had no problem seeing the fireworks. And it was a fantastic show.

The sad thing is that I still walked away disappointed with the experience. Perhaps it was the crick in my back from sitting on a beach towel for seven hours to follow the rules, while others enjoyed the comfort of their high back chairs.

So I have a few simple requests for Tahoe City and anyone else who possess the power to make rules:

1. Don’t be vague. This gives people wiggle room to be asshats. And they will take advantage of it.  If you want to say “low back chairs only” please provide a definition of what is and isn’t a low back a chair.

2. Don’t make seemingly pointless rules. The fireworks are pretty high in the sky and the high back chairs that were crowding the beach that night posed no viewing problems so I’m not sure why you thought this was a good rule. Clearly people aren’t going to do something just because you told them to do it,  so  please provide a logical explanation as to why this rule is important.

3. Enforce rules. If rules aren’t enforced, people lose faith in being a part of a society with rules and they won’t follow other more important ones, like only using the left lane to pass..… oh wait hmmm.

Thanks Tahoe City, really we do love you. And next year we’ll be bringing our chairs.