One of the best walks I have done; huge redwoods, sparkling blue water, valleys that sweep to the sea and weather that campers in Britain can only dream about – more to follow.
Okay what have I missed out? Gosh we have done so much since leaving LA. We had planned to be exploring Yosemite by now but we bumped into Big Sur and really got stuck.
I must admit I had begun to dispare that all we would do is travel from one large campsite to another and not explore. I voiced this to a park ranger and he produced the first topographical map I had seen in the US. It showed a string of campsites all about 5miles apart stretching into the Ventana Wilderness Oh what a smile, what a grin i had, people must have thought me half crazed as I glided around the supermarket picking up bumper packs of Beef Jerky and noodles (no oat nains though). We were to leave the next day.
As usual we went for the early start of mid-day just so we could really back in the heat of California. The first mile was a very tough climb on the sunny side of the mountain but as we reached the top of the first spur the track went into shade and we could enjoy ourselves a bit more. The track still climbed and would do so for the next 3 miles but it was amongst towering redwoods. These are fantastic trees, reaching up towards the 100m mark, living 1000s of years and even having family groups that can support less fit trees.
( I promise you I have seen an albino tree – I know how mad is that! It’s leaves lacked chlorophyl and so were almost white. It grew because itshared the roots of its family trees. hey I got very excited by it all even if “it is just a small tree” – Jacob.)
I though we might head out toward the hot springs , a two day trip. We made it to Outlaw Camp, just over half way. On the way we met a very hot looking dog and his owner who happened to have no pants (American usage, of course as we wouldn’t have known) on. He assured us that it was only because it was a bit hot – makes it okay then. Anyway we got chatting and he suggested another campsite as everyone goes to the springs but if we went down a spur then there was a site just as pretty -minus the springs but with less people. You might wonder why we would trust a man with little on other than the hairs on his legs but he seemed to make sense and so we set off for Ventana camp. I am so pleased we did.
The camp was a delight, I expected some cowboys to ride into camp any moment. The first night we had the place to ourselves. We decided to stay an extra night so early the next morning I was dispatched to get some extra supplies and put more money into the parking metre. At $5 a day , one of the cheapest camping sites we’ve stayed at. I met lots of people along the way but as our trouser less park guide had said most people head straight for the springs.
I did meet a couple who were going to Ventana, they had been there over 10 years before and wanted to return. They were very chpper the first time I met them, but when I caught up with them on my return leg they were suffering from the heat. It was hot, I had a lovely cool walk out but the temperature rose steadily and by the time I was returning it was getting to the hottest part of the day. The couple I met; Richard and Laura, had not factored in the advancement of 10 years to their walking schedule, and were realising that the silver ware that they needed for the romantic evening was a tad over ambitious. Plus their 9 month puppy was not coping well with his supplies of doggy stuff.
We all cooled off in some of the pools and explored down stream for a bit. Jacob and Louise spent lots of time playing with Richard and Laura’s dog. I must admit to being a bit nervous at first since even at 9 months he was incredibly strong, but Finn just liked to play around with the children so we let them splash while we chatted on.
Walking out the next day was a lot easier than coming in as we managed to get away at an astounding 10 am, quite unheard of in our family annuals of camping achievements.