We had a pretty low-key week while Nim was on Spring Break last week due to the need to conserve Chad's vacation days for later in the year, but I did drag everyone out for a quick trip out to do some backpacking at Henry Coe park. No advance reservations required, for once -- the place is big enough that you just show up and register at headquarters before going in. We were planning to camp in the zones closest to the entrance, so we had to let them know exactly which site we were aiming for, but going in on a Thursday, there was no competition for the good spots. (Quite a contrast to the stupid "reserve your site online at 9am six months before you go" routine that has become the norm for developed campgrounds around here...clearly backpacking needs to become our new norm.)
The first day was about five miles down, down, down into the Coyote Creek drainage. The twelve-year-old was grumpy about being forcibly dragged away from her computer. Parents were deemed to be excessively cheerful.
Things started looking up after we found a nature guide for one section of trail, and got even better when we made it down to our campsite by the swimming hole in the creek.
Naps were had.
I stalked fish and bugs in the creek with my camera.
(Find the water strider, and his shadow!)
Little fishies (big ones kept swiming away from me)
Chad taught Nim about filtering water.
The next day, we hiked a short way on a lovely trail along the creek, trying to dodge poison oak, until we got to the site of the old Madrone Soda Springs resort. There is not much there any more (old buildings have had all useful things removed and have since been washed away downstream by flood waters), but back in the 1880's there were apparently four stagecoach trips a day back into the springs here, with several buildings, a dance hall, entertainment, and the whole nine yards.
Now there is an overgrown rock stairway.
And a lovely spot to camp. Nim and I read for a while,
and played hangman.
Always bring the stuffed tiger. (note the paw sticking out of Nim's pack)
I stalked bugs instead of fish at this campsite.
one of a veritable cloud of ladybugs
I find it amusing that Chad and I independently took pictures of the same dead snag,
from entirely different viewpoints! (yes, the monster mouth one is mine...)
Chad got the superior shot of the lichen-covered oak at the edge of the site. It was really just a lovely spot to hang out and relax.
Despite the minor complaining on the way in the first day, by the time we got to the steep climb to get back out on the last day, the kid was clearly enjoying herself.
smiling partway up the first mile out, with 800 feet climbed in said mile
Nim's thought at the end: "This is really fun, but sort of pointless and painful." I take that to mean that she liked the trip!