April 25- May 2
We awoke on Sunday morning to the sound of steady rain pounding on the parking lot we had called home the night before. With only an hour’s drive to Patrick’s Point State Park where we had a reservation for the week, there was no hurry, so we snuggled into the blankets and let the morning pass and the rain clear.
By noon the rain had stopped and we were ready to get rolling. Next stop…the beach!
The tiny coastal town of Trinidad has a great public beach with a parking lot large enough to for RVs (at least on a chilly Sunday in April, probably not in July). Located only a few minutes down the road from the state park, this seemed like the perfect place for our first beach visit of the season.
The last time we saw the Pacific Ocean was waaaay back in the fall of 2018. So much has happened in our world since then, and I’m happy to report that my favorite ocean is still the same wild and wonderful place it always was.
After we got our fill of watching the waves and breathing in the fresh, salty air, it was time to explore the maze-like paths that wind up and around a small bluff near the beach. There is a lighthouse up there somewhere, but it’s only open to the public one day a month and because the access road was blocked, we couldn’t even see it. Oh well…it’s hard to be disappointed when the scenery looks like this!
We then drove another 10 minutes up the road to Patrick’s Point State Park where our site was waiting for us. While the campground is large, at the time of our stay only 13 of the 124 campsites were open. In part because of seasonal closures, and in part because of Covid. (I just checked and the entire CG is reopening on May 21st.)
Thirteen sites is not many, and we almost didn’t get into the park. In fact, I had already booked a week at the nearby Sounds of the Sea RV Park when we finally got an alert that a site had opened at the state park. Sounds of the Sea is only a mile away and I’m sure it would have been fine, but we will always pick a state park over the tight squeeze that RV parks favor.
Speaking of a tight squeeze, the RV length limit at Patrick’s Point is 31 feet for good reason. Not only are the roads through the campground narrow and draped with low hanging branches, but the sites themselves are, in some cases, deceptively small. Our site was listed as having a 31′ pad length and a 43′ length overall. While that might have been technically true, the extreme slope in the front of our parking area combined with a large rock at the back, only left us with a few feet to spare after parking our 25′ trailer. There is no way a 31-foot motorhome would have fit in this spot.
All that matters is that we did fit. And despite the trees towering overhead, we even got enough solar power to last the week – with some creative placement of the portable panel throughout the day for maximum rays.
After maneuvering into our site, we took a walk to find the beach. Turns out the path to the beach was just around the corner from our site. This is the view from the top of the path! I may have squealed out loud when I saw it. This right here is what I had been dreaming about during those last few months in the dry, brown desert.
The path to the beach zig zags gently down the cliff until the last 20 or so feet when you must scramble down a steep section of log stairs before reaching the bottom. Pro tip – if you’re not up for the hike down & up the path but still want to visit the beach, for $5 you can park at the Big Lagoon County Park and access the beach from there. There is a two-mile stretch of beach between Big Lagoon to Patrick’s Point. We walked this stretch starting at Patrick’s Point one day so we could see the lagoon.
Aside from the beach which we visited often, the campground has numerous trails along the high cliffs and through the dense forest.
One afternoon we drove over to the Stone Lagoon and put our kayaks in the water for the first time since last October!
Stone Lagoon, along with Big Lagoon, Freshwater Lagoon, and Dry Lagoon, are all part of the Humboldt Lagoon State Park. These large, shallow bodies of water are located along the coast and separated from the ocean by wide swathes of sandy beach. In all the lagoons except for Freshwater Lagoon, the ocean occasionally breaches the sand during winter storms turning the water slightly brackish. I know becuase I tasted it :)
We paddled across the windy lagoon skirting along the forested edge and landing on the sandy beach separating us from the ocean. Even though you can get to the beach via a short walking path off Highway 101, we had the entire beach to ourselves.
As our first week on the coast came to an end, we planned ourselves a grand adventure among the trees before heading north into Oregon. For the next few months, we have booked a series of week-long stays along the Oregon coast and into Washington. We used to travel like this a lot and have found that a week is the perfect amount of time to see the sights, get in a few hikes, maybe visit a local restaurant, and then leave feeling satisfied with what we saw and did, but also knowing that we could come back and still find new things to explore. This schedule means that Sunday is our travel day, leaving Saturday as our one full day off from work to have fun. Many years ago, we started calling it Adventure Saturday. Well…I am pleased to say that Adventure Saturday is back!
For our first Adventure Saturday on the coast, Tim found us an amazing sounding 15-mile hike in the Prairie Creek Redwood State Park (which is part of the larger Redwood National Park). The trail started at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, traveled up and along a forested ridge, past a stretch of a meadow filled with lounging Elk, through a fern canyon, and then back up and along the ridge. Altogether we clocked about 15.5 miles and 8 hours of hiking. It was a long adventure, and we suffered sore feet and aching legs for days afterward. But oh man, was it amazing! I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story.
And with that, we wrapped up our stay on the California coast. It was short, it was sweet, and we left with tons of places to explore and adventures to be had during our next visit.