29 July 2008

Camping at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

Posted by Dirk under: Uncategorized .

Dog LogsWe took off Wednesday after work and drove 5 hours across the mountains to the coast. We stayed overnight at a hotel in Arcata and early the next morning drove up the coast a ways to the Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, up and then down 6 miles of crappy, narrow dirt road to the Gold Bluffs Beach Campground, a non-reservation campground that we hoped we would be able to score a campsite at. Sunday afternoon we came home. In between we had fun, walked on the beach a lot and nearly killed the dog. And I found out that even if the sky is completely overcast, the sun is still up there someplace and is sending it’s evil rays through the clouds to burn one’s skin. My nose is peeling like an onion.

The drive was a bit more exciting than usual due to the fact that the route that goes through the mountains, 299, goes right through a part of the state that has had wildfires burning for a month or so. As we drove along the Trinity River there were fires burning on the other side of the river. I guess we were lucky the road was even open for traffic.

We got lucky in finding a camp site. When we arrived at the campground the dog and I stayed at the booth where the rangers usually are (though it was empty at the time) while Doro went to the campground to see if any sites were available. While I was waiting a ranger came by on her way to another site and stopped to see if I needed help. I explained that we were hoping to get a campsite and she told me to go to the campground and basically hover like a vulture till somebody else left. I started walking towards the campground and after a short while Doro showed up and told me there were no sites available. We continued on and as we were driving through the sites we saw a dude packing up his car. We asked him if he was leaving and he said yes, as soon as he had taken a shower. Score! It was campsite number 20 and it was better than the one we got last year. This one was on the outer part of the campground while the site we had last time was in the interior circle. We quickly set up our camp, sat around for a little while enjoying our good fortune and then headed down to the beach.

I love the interface between ocean and land. Gold Bluffs Beach is a nice sandy area and we took off our shoes and walked barefoot along the beach for a long ways. Dogs are permitted on the beach but are supposed to be kept leashed. We broke that rule though. Tattoo never bothered any wildlife or other people (I always leash him when we get near others) and he never went further than a tennis ball or stick throw away. He loves the beach!

The weather was pretty chilly on Thursday and Friday but warmed up on Saturday, though Saturday night the fog really rolled in and Sunday morning everything was pretty wet. Friday we went down the coast to Arcata to get some supplies and hit up a used bookstore called the Tin Can Mailman where I spent more money than I intended. On the way back to the camp we stopped at a tourist shop that sold redwood carvings and picked up a bunch of scrap wood for the campfire. We had brought some from home but it was apparent after the first night that we hadn’t brought enough. The rangers sell firewood but it’s super expensive. Eight bucks for a little bundle of softwood like pine.

Down the road a short ways from the campground is a cool place called Fern Canyon which was used as a location for Jurassic Park. We had been to it last year and went again this time. We saw no dinosaurs but we did spot some Roosevelt Elk, which are pretty freaking big.Roosevelt Elk

By Sunday the dog was totally wore out. He was limping on all four paws and pretty much didn’t move off his blanket unless he really had to. After being home for several days he is finally starting to perk up a little bit.

We had planned to stay till Monday but the dog was so beat and Sunday was so overcast and wet (and our air mattress seems to have a leak so we were sleeping on the ground and I was missing my bed) so we decided to head back to Chico.

All in all a fun time and I highly recommend the Gold Bluffs Beach Campground if you are looking for a place to camp on the north coast. It costs $15 a night for a campsite but they have a nice restroom building that even has solar powered showers.

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