Calaveras Big Trees

img_6922Another new favorite place! I really loved this campground and I bet we’ll be coming back in the future.

Our weekend began with some excitement. I was nearing the end of the day at school when I got a series of confusing texts from Richard.img_6937

Now you tell me. What would you think if you saw that? What I thought when I saw that was connected to the fact that Richard had just replaced the sacrificial anode in the hot water heater for the first time this past week. My assumption was that he had blown up the water heater while Dory was in the garage and was being incoherent because flames were engulfing the house. What was actually happening was that a house one street over from us was being engulfed in flames and he was freaked out and trying to use Siri to send me a text message. We are working on his communication protocols for future emergency situations.

img_6914The fire was actually quite dramatic. After rushing home, my first priority was making sure our daughter had medical supplies ready to evacuate if need be. My immediate next concern was getting the process rolling to move Dory out of the garage so we could make a quick getaway. Evacuation was unnecessary, thankfully, and the fire was contained to one house, which was completely destroyed. My across the street neighbors now know the precise location of all wedding photos and precious keepsakes. Close call. Yikes.

img_6918So once we knew things were safe and stable, we pulled out, albeit with a bit of trepidation. We checked in with our neighbor and our daughter the whole drive until we finally lost service at the campground. We pulled in around 6 and enjoyed the delicious Shuttle Chef meal Richard had been preparing when he was trying to text me. Then GoT, then bed and a very sound sleep.

img_6936Saturday Richard took off for a bike ride and I relaxed a bit and wrote a report. That kept me busy until around 2 and then I decided to clean the big windows. I need to research window cleaners apparently, because for all of my hard work, I was left with a disappointing level of streaking. However, any concerns over sparkling, streak free windows would evaporate quickly.

It was around 3 that I started to get worried that Richard hadn’t returned and I had no service to check in with him. A ranger walked up to Dory while I was outside cleaning and my heart stopped. Again, emergency averted, and the ranger was simply there to relay a message to me from Richard that he was too tired to make the rest of the climb and could I please come pick him up with the car on Avery Sheep Ranch Road. Or at least, that would have been a nice, clear message to have gotten. What I got was the product of the game “telephone” and not only directed me to the wrong pick up location, but also did not indicate why Richard needed to be picked up. So I drove worriedly as fast as I could, knowing only that he was “ok” (i.e. Not dead, but possibly lying on the side of the road with broken limbs. I had no idea. It was not a fun drive). It was damn lucky he had, just minutes earlier, biked his way back to Highway 4, because otherwise I would have missed him and would have continued another 15 miles only to find him not there. Again, we are working on communication protocols for the future, but in the meantime, we got milkshakes and drove back to camp.

img_6943After lots of water and carb re-loading, he was ok enough to do the North Grove Interpretive Trail with me. This was truly glorious. Giant Sequoias are some of the most amazing and awe inspiring life forms I have ever seen. Branches the size of respectable size trees grow out of the sides of these massive towers. It ends up looking like an entire world exists, high above us ground dwellers. Stunning. The forest floor is lush with dogwoods just beginning to turn for the fall. We saw a perfect little woodland deer family partially hidden in the brush, and an enormous fallen hollow trunk large enough to fit a brass band inside (true story). I absolutely loved this trail. The whole campground in fact was simply gorgeous with all the different varieties of trees. Our campsite sat right next to a large meadow and stream. It must be a whole extra level of beautiful in the spring when the wildflowers bloom and the stream is running.

img_6955So, to follow a feast for the eyes, we returned to Dory to cook up a feast for, well, a feast! We recently started getting Blue Apron dinner deliveries and have loved it so far. I must admit, for the past many years, loving and healthful meal preparation has not been my most conspicuous skill. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the cooking part, but the planning and shopping have made it too time consuming to get my head around. Dory has inspired me to explore the world of grilling and the time appears to be right for a foray into honest meal preparation. What rocks about Blue Apron is that they do all the thinking and shopping for you. img_6963What you get is a step by step recipe card and ingredient portions in the exact right amount. All that is left is to prepare some of the veggies or meat, like by washing and/or chopping, and you’re pretty much good to go. It’s not a quick process, but I’m finding it is really fun. I cranked the tunes and joyfully minced fresh ginger and scallions, using all of my carefully selected, yet inadequately used, Dory cookware. Our nesting bowls make excellent mise en place containers, and our Magma nesting cookware handled the job of stir fry and rice just perfectly. Good thing there were no bears around that night, because dinner smelled and tasted fantastic! I will say there is a lot of packaging that comes with Blue Apron. But there is also a lot less food waste, at least for us, because we always find ourselves buying an overage of ingredients for dishes when we only need a tiny amount. And factoring in what we’re not spending on eating take out or pre-prepared meals, it seems pretty reasonable.

img_6967Sunday we walked over to the visitor center, which is quite nice. I got an offensively cheap pair of blue binoculars that I’ll bet we end up using more than the big heavy expensive pair we never want to take with us on hikes. By noon on Sunday, the park was nearly empty and we enjoyed a casual stroll along the trails back to our campsite. It looks like there are a couple of campgrounds here and many trails to be explored in the future. All in all, this was one of my favorite places so far.

Total miles: 132.7, 15.5 mpg (19.1 on the way home when it is all downhill), 3 hours 41 min (just about 3 hours going home with no traffic). Site 7. Sites 5, 6, or 7 are all really lovely. We think 6 might be the best, with a bit better solar. No cell service for either of us in the campground. Verizon starts to kick in a few miles down Highway 4, but AT&T had no service until Murphys.

6 thoughts on “Calaveras Big Trees

  1. I visited with friends who using a service like Blue Apron. It seemed like a nice way to keep dinners fresh and interesting.

    I love your Richard stories. I hope he doesn’t mind your telling them. It adds to the fun of the tale.

    And then there are the Big Trees. Perfect.

  2. I love the way you say “we are working on communication protocols” so calmly. Is that code for “I screamed at him for an hour?” Cause I know if my wife sent me those two messages I would not be super calm – just saying….

    1. 😉 Communication is a fun, ongoing adventure. We discover new protocol needs all the time. Always extra fun when you know others are watching, but then, I know everyone can relate.

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