Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where do People from Hawaii go to Vacation?

I get asked this question on a fairly regular basis, and the answer, mostly, is Vegas.  We, however, are not Vegas people.  We tried that a few years ago with fairly disastrous results and have no real desire to head back there any time soon.  (Also, I just realized I am nothing if not consistent.  If you don't believe me, go read the opening sentences of the post I just linked to.)  So, where do WE go to vacation?  Well, last year, we did a west-coast trip that involved a paragliding clinic, a paragliding competition where we met some of the nicest people ever, and camping in the redwoods.  I've already told you about the first two, and I figured it's finally time to tell you about the third.

If you're like me, your idea of camping is being able to drive somewhere remote where you can set up a tent and be alone in nature. Although state and national parks offer great access to some of the most beautiful places in the country, camping in these places tends to be in designated areas only; and while the conveniences of a campground are great--I like running water, indoor toilets, fire pits, firewood, and bear boxes--the 53 campers who are crammed into the campground with you--RVs, generators, radios, screaming kids and all--are not.  If I wanted all that, I'd stay home and drink a beer in my driveway.

On the other hand, if you're like me, camping does NOT include hiking into a remote campsite where you'd better have everything you need with you because civilization is a three-day hike away.  Well, have I got the perfect solution for you!  Environmental camps are the perfect blend between car-camping convenience and remote getaway isolation.  The trade-off?  There are a limited number of spots.  I don't know how many of these exist throughout the country or if this is just a California thing, but in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, where we camped, there are five.  Not five campgrounds, but five campsites, located in the Hamilton Barn and Baxter camps.  You park your car in a parking area and then you have to hike your gear in to your campsite, which is anywhere from 50 to 200 yards away.  There is a pit toilet, and no running water, but hot showers are available at the nearby Albee Creek campground.

We were in the Hamilton Barn camp, and we picked the campsite that was closest to the parking area (and the pit toilet)--still remote, but not as far to carry everything.  We had the entire place to ourselves for a couple days and then other people moved into the other campsites.  The downside to being closest to the parking area is that you get to see everyone coming and going to and from their campsites, but overall, we were still pretty secluded.  Unfortunately, I only seem to have two pictures of our campsite, but this at least gives you an idea.  The big tree on the right in the first picture is the big tree on the left in the second picture.

We also had a picnic table, fire pit, and bear box, so you can see we had plenty of room.  I can't prove to you that we had a picnic table, but I did take this picture on one of our benches.

We also had a stream nearby, so in the morning, Hubby would get up and go purify some water for us so we would have water for coffee, hiking, and brushing our teeth.

So, that's where we lived for a week in the redwoods!  Remember:  Environmental camps are the way to go!      

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