Site 9 is maybe the best site
Our final stay of the break was somewhat marred by getting into BIG TROUBLE with the campground host. I’m getting flushed even typing this, because we love campground hosts, and try our best not to get into trouble with them. They are the ones keeping things safe and not too rowdy for all of us passers through, so we appreciate them. But boy oh boy, did we piss this one off.
Highway 1 near Elk
Let’s set the scene by giving some context. It was our last full day, and we had the plan to try again on the Pygmy Forest trail in Salt Point State Park. We’d attempted this trail many months back, but it was closed, so we instead took a long way around, creating a heart shaped path in our defeated little wake. Having a Do Over here, would not only feel satisfying in terms of closure, but would also achieve the coveted Pygmy Forest Trifecta. That would be three whole Pygmies on one trip! So we were excited and got hitched and rolling early so we could have enough time to achieve our stunted forest dream.
Goal of the day
All was going our way and we arrived around 12:30. To our dismay, the people in our site had not yet vacated. Usually, check out time is noon, but we have been known to push just a bit past that deadline ourselves. Check in time is 2pm, so we had no moral high ground here. We were in the wrong, but we still wanted to get set up in our site as soon as we could. Richard is always a little tense at the tail end of trips too, so in retrospect, he was not in the best place to go chat with the campground host.
Passing by Van Damme
He doesn’t remember exactly what he said, but according to the campground host, he “had attitude.” In any case, Richard came back and reported the host said we could try hanging out in the ADA site, or in the Day Use area, if we wanted to wait. Neither one of us thought anything was going awry at that point. Since the loop was kind of tight, and the ADA site was rather small and would cause Dory to stick out a little into the road, we both figured it would be equally ok to temporarily park in a site nearby. We could see when the current occupants of our site were leaving, and pull out if we needed to move. So, I backed into #3, which also had solar and hookups, and I went inside Dory to have lunch. Here’s where things probably crossed the line. Richard figured, why not plug in while we were waiting, to make use of the time. The campground host did not like that one bit. He immediately came over and yelled at us both, saying now we were going to have to leave the park and not come back until 2. We were both totally shocked, but just said ok, and started getting ready to leave.
Gerstle Cove at Salt Point
I don’t usually get in trouble, you guys. I’m more of the insufferable teacher’s pet type. So I went over to try to apologize, and basically started crying. I think that startled him and he backed down, just reiterating that we could ONLY wait in the ADA site. So we did that, but were both extremely rattled. Richard went to walk it off and I waited until I got full and clear permission to pull into our reserved site. At that point, it was around 1:30. We still had time in the day, but it was looking pretty shot.
Made it eventually
Somehow, we were both able to pull ourselves together and shake it off enough to head out to the trail. We walked and talked and processed all the things that had broken down there, so that maybe we could avoid similar situations in the future. I think it was just maybe the perfect storm of us trying a little too hard to eke out every little bit of fun on our last day, coming face to face with a highly triggerable campground host, who admitted to having a short temper. He assumed we were disrespecting his authority, when in reality we were just trying to be efficient and stay out of everyone’s way.
The raw power of the ocean
And so it was that we were able to achieve the Pygmy Trifecta, but in a way that was totally unsatisfying. At least, by the time we’d gotten back to the car, we had wrung out all the angst. We were then able to enjoy a walk on the bluffs at Salt Point. As if to soothe our bruised spirits, Mother Nature gave us a show with the crashing of King Tide waves against the rocky shore. It was like the universe was saying, “It’s ok. Conflict happens. It’s natural. Let it go.” We then spotted a whale way out in the distance as he/she slowly made their way past the setting sun. As it disappeared into the horizon, I could hear it call back, “It’s all good, man. Just keep swimming.” Good thing I speak whale.
Sunset and whale spout just catching the light
Heading home on Sunday, we were reminded never to underestimate “The Rollercoaster.” This is the section of Highway 1 between Fort Ross and Jenner, and it contains ten of the most exciting miles of the entire coastal drive. When I say exciting, I also mean terrifying if you are not used to steep drop offs, narrow sharp turns, and a whole lot of no guard rails. I will say, they have installed more and more guard rails every year, but it’s not enough. We had been trying to figure out some way Richard could get in one last bike ride, and there were all sorts of crazy ideas being considered. One of them involved me traversing the Rollercoaster three times so that I could pick him up, return with him to hitch up, and then tow back down it. hahahahaha Note to future self: that would not ever be a good idea.
Section of the Rollercoaster when it’s not too scary to ask Richard to take pictures
So, home we are again. It was a great week, despite campground host confrontations. We had the best apple pie in the world, hiked two fern valleys, saw THREE pygmy forests, and went to Cowlick’s three times. Lots to be thankful for!
Total miles from MacKerricher: 85.1, 16.0 mpg, 2 hours 41 min. Site 9. Great site with hookups. No cell for ATT but a little bit for Verizon. Dump, but it was closed, and it costs $7. No potable water in campground.