Jedediah Smith State Park

IMG_6461We give this park a rating of 11. It’s got the beautiful, spacious sites. It’s got the proximity to extraordinary scenery. It’s got nice facilities. Plus, there is a national park visitor center right in the campground and Richard loves visitor centers. Bonus point for good cell service. 11.

We pulled out of the Meyers Flat campground around 11 this morning, in no great rush. Lissa, our Bay Area Alto friend and fellow rally organizer followed us up Highway 101 the whole way. I snapped a couple of funny shots of us getting gas together because you just don’t see that many Altos on the road, let alone two at a time.

We stopped for lunch and sandwich making at Clam Beach just north of Arcata. Our caravan partners are traveling with an adorable doggie, so it was a good rest stop for her too. Then we just kept rolling on north.IMG_6446

As we got close to the park, we were directed by both the Acura navigation system and Apple Maps to take Howland Hill Road. On the map screen, it looked pretty twisty, but BOTH sources were telling us to go that way. The only clue we had was that Acura was labeling the road as “Unverified” and it would give directions, like: “In a quarter mile, turn right onto Howland Hill Road… if possible.” So we turned onto it and got about a quarter mile before we saw a big yellow sign saying “Trailers Not Recommended Beyond This Point.” Full stop. No way were we going to screw around with that level of adventure. We were barely able to make a U-Turn at that point and Lissa had to go a ways down an alternate street before being able to turn around. After that, we went off the directions recommended on the official state park campground confirmation email notice. That kept us on Highway 199 and that is definitely the way to go.

IMG_6471All was well from then on and we got to Jedediah Smith campground around 3. We got set up in our site, but were not able to be next to our buddies. They got themselves situated in the upper loops and we tootled around the campground on our bikes and went to the visitor center. There, we learned of a “must do” hike to Stout Grove. We agree, yes. This is a must do. You get to take this little walking bridge across the river and then you find yourself in the most amazing old growth forest you can imagine. It is right out of “Avatar” and the trees are indescribably huge. The forest floor is blanketed with lush ferns, and maples fill in the spaces between redwoods. It’s hard to imagine a more peaceful, romantic spot and Richard proposed to me just because he felt he should. I told him I’d think about it, but I’d have to check with my current husband to see if he was cool with that.

IMG_6475We continued along the River Trail until eventually we ran into a “road” where a couple of cars had parked at a small staging area. Wondering what this road might lead to, we discovered this was in fact the way Apple Maps had been routing us. A dirt road. Kinda glad we didn’t feel so confident in our towing abilities that we just said “screw it” and went for it.

We got back to Dory and snacked for a while before firing up the grill for pizza. Meanwhile, we soaked up LTE cell service (AT&T only) and enjoyed the beautiful view. We will for sure have to come back to this place, but it would take at least two days to get here. It’s pretty enough to be worth it though.

Total miles 141.9, 14.8 mpg (still really bad gas mileage, but we’re still driving into a headwind, so I hope that’s what is causing it), 3 hours 38 minutes.

Site 51, nice! It’s right by the beach access trail and between two trash cans, so there is a bit of foot traffic. Also, from the lower sites, you have to go up the hill to get to the bathroom, but it’s not too bad.  Sites 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, or 58 would all be nice and near the river. I think my preference would be 57 or 58. But anything in the park is pretty awesome! Everything here is a nice view.

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