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
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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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An ice cool summer breeze and abraham lincoln’s stovepipe hat August 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiesmillie @ 2:55 pm
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For Colin’s family reunion we took a trip to Ludlow, Vermont a few weeks ago.

One of the first things we did was a short hike. We chose the White Rocks recreation area near East Wallingford, VT.

White Rocks, Ice Beds Hike

White Rocks, Ice Beds Hike

The coolest part about the hike was reaching the ice beds. It’s pretty much a big rock slide under which ice forms during the winter. It stays cool enough under the rocks that it doesn’t melt in the summer. As soon as we stepped in front of the rocks there was an ice cool breeze. The temperature went from feeling like it was 85 degrees to about 65 degrees.

Colin, cooling off

Colin, cooling off

OMG its bigfoot1!!

OMG its bigfoot1!!

View of the valley and rocks

View of the valley and rocks

The next day we visited Hildene, the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln. Very pretty, very east coast.

Hildene, view from the gardens

Hildene, view from the gardens

The best part about it, was one of Abraham Lincoln’s stovepipe hats. Of his seven hats, I believe it’s one of two left remaining.

Lincolns stovepipe hat

Lincoln's stovepipe hat

Another highlight of the trip was riding on an alpine slide for the first time.

I probably looked exactly like this (only female and a  bit older), but with the same confused look of fun and fear of losing my life:

Alpine slide

Weeeeeeeee

 

More from Lake Tahoe, 4th of July: Five Lakes Hike July 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiesmillie @ 5:03 pm
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So I did do more than just glare at people in their high back chairs on the Fourth of July. We also did an amazing hike earlier in the day on the Five Lakes trail.

This hike is on a mountain that sits right between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley ski resorts.  It was REALLY cool to see the place we spent all winter, in the summer.

Five Lakes Trail Map

Five Lakes Trail Map

View from half way up

View from half way up

The best part was at the top of the trail (about 3 miles) were five beautiful lakes. We brought our swimsuits and took a dip in one of the lakes to cool off.  Then sat on a rock while we dried off next to a huge pile of snow. Snow on the ground in 80 degrees weather = awesome.

One of the 5 Lakes

One of the 5 Lakes

I took the photo below of Alpine Meadows ski resort on our hike down. There is quite a bit of snow in the top right corner – I believe Alpine Bowl is in the middle and the corner of Wolverine Bowl is all the way to the right.

Alpine Meadows in July

Alpine Meadows in July

The next photo is one of the the most interesting. There are a series of chair lift towers running up this mountain with no cables connecting them. This is actually something that we noticed from a distance last season while skiing at Alpine Meadows and we referred to it as the “creepy abandoned lift towers”.

To our delight, the Five Lakes hike took us right by these towers and we got to check them out up close. They look very new and later a quick online search provided some background on to why they are there:  Troy Caldwell’s dream of an Alpine-to-Squaw route lives on at his White Wolf Mountain.

Creepy abandoned lift towers

Creepy abandoned lift towers

As an Alpine Meadows season pass holder, it would be pretty exciting if the two resorts were one day connected. But I guess that’s probably why the Squaw crowd doesn’t seem so into it…