Where: Redwood State and National Parks, Napa Valley, and San Francisco, CA
There are just some sights you can’t find in any city.
I actually really missed camping. There’s nothing like a long day of hiking in some beautiful weather, then spending an evening snuggled up in a sleeping bag outdoors, then waking up and doing it again the next day. It’s a good reminder of how beautiful our planet can be, and I think everyone should do some proper camping when they get the chance.
The Redwoods are a great place to camp too – the trails are developed and easy to follow, and the campgrounds are built out nicely. Logistically it is a bit of a nightmare, especially if you go in the off-season like I did – the park is actually split into 4 distinct entities, and it can be hard to determine which trails and campgrounds are open or not because the websites are not updated nearly often enough. It was also kind hard to get to, requiring a long-distance flight to California, as well as a nearly 6 hour drive up from San Francisco to the north area of the park.
Having said that, it was totally worth it.
Obviously, the trees are HUGE. I definitely have a crick in my neck from staring up all the time. But the rest of the forest is just incredibly lush and full of life, and has the most wondrous shades of green imaginable. The air was nice and crisp during the day, and when the sun was out the sky was a beautiful blue that is somehow bluer than other blues that you see elsewhere. It felt really good to be out there with my technical pack and my camera, taking it all in.
After that our reward was a full day spent in Napa, which was also beautiful but in a completely different way. We treated ourselves to a few wineries, including one on top of a hill that gave us a gorgeous view of the surrounding countryside, and some nice food, but were mainly just there to relax.
Our final day was spent in San Francisco, doing normal tourist-y things like seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and going to a museum, as well as checking out Mission Street and their very famous LGBT community.
Flying back West to East is always a nightmare due to the time you lose when you switch time zones, but it couldn’t spoil any of the memories I made during this trip. With summer around the corner, I want to plan another backpacking adventure soon!