Our “short” detour off Highway 101 to California’s Lost Coast turned into a full week of exploring the Lost Coast and King’s Range, staying for free in primitive campsites and at trailheads. After this week of privative accommodations we were low on food and water and had been out of contact with the outside world for the entire time due to a very faint and slow internet signal. I was in my element, camping under Douglas fir trees with ready access to trailheads and was sad when we had to depart. John, though, was at his limit and insisted that we spend the next three nights at a private campground, where internet and warm showers would be plentiful.

Traveling in a van has its strains. Space and privacy are limited, daily tasks can be difficult due to the cramped quarters (as we explained in an earlier post) and alone time takes effort. On top of that, stealth camping is stressful. For me, finding a legal overnight parking spot in a city and hiding out in the van is taxing, and after only a couple nights of this I reach my breaking point and insist on finding a park to recuperate in. But trailhead camping I can do endlessly. The area is quiet, there are no street lights, overnight parking is perfectly normal for backpackers, no one is likely to come by, and hiking trails are right outside the door. John is the opposite of me. He loves the excitement of stealth camping in the city, but reaches a breaking point after too much camping away from civilization and insists on staying at a private campground with full amenities. To be fair, he has a much higher tolerance for the primitive lifestyle than I have for the stealthy one. Two nights in the city is pretty much my limit, whereas John can last a week in the backcountry. I find the difference interesting, and indicative of the differences in our personalities in general.

From the Lost Coast we headed to Myers Flat to stay at Giant Redwoods RV and Camp, a private campground just outside of Humbolt Redwoods State Park. Here we plugged the van in for the first time since February 23rd. We were off the electric grid for over 10 weeks! This campground was a perfect compromise of private campground amenities and access to a scenic public park. This park would have been our next stop had we not detoured to the Lost Coast, so staying here meant that we added a full week to our trip at a time when we were trying to make progress toward our final destination, but it certainly was a worthy detour!

Salamander in the grass near our campsite at the Giant Redwoods RV & Camp. At first I thought it was a snake, then it ran away on very short legs...I snapped a photo and later a little searching revealed to me that it is a salamander.

Salamander in the grass near our campsite at the Giant Redwoods RV & Camp. At first I thought it was a very short snake, until it ran away on tiny legs…I snapped a photo and later a little searching revealed to me that it is a salamander.

May 7, 2014

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