Skyline Wilderness

In answer to the question: “No seriously, what is wrong with us?” I came across this definition of a rare, clinically diagnosable disorder:

dromomania (noun)an exaggerated desire to wander

“Dromomania.” Medical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2023.

I mean…. seriously.

I think we have that. Or, at the very least, we have doryomania, which is an even more rare form of the condition. See, California has been going through some stuff the past couple of weeks. I mean, you never know what it is going to be with California. You could be burning down, or the sky could be orange and you can’t breathe because somewhere else is burning down, or you could be falling into the ocean with the next Big One. But this time it was “atmospheric rivers.” California doesn’t really do so well with biblical levels of precipitation, and everything starts to slide, and/or pool, and/or turn into a rushing river. Things were bad enough last weekend that we grudgingly accepted defeat and stayed home. Also, I’m pretty sure the campground on the coast closed, or certainly should have. So what did we do? We raised Dory’s roof in the garage and camped there. We powered through by watching all of the “Star Wars” post-quels (numbers VII, VIII and IX), plus “Rogue One.” That kept us pretty entertained for the most part. Sustained scoffing is a fun activity when there’s nothing better to do. And when there was a break in the rain, we walked down the multi-use trail that is literally at the bottom of our street, in order to gawk at the high water levels in the creek, and enjoy our own cute downtown. We do actually live in a nice place, despite appearances that would suggest we can’t stand it here.

We camp for the views.

Throughout the week, the rain continued to come down. Many parts of the state are suffering major damage. Lives have been lost out there. Roads have closed. But not all the roads. And not all the places are flooded. We had reservations at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma, which did close for a while before deeming itself safe-ish and opening back up on Thursday. We could have gone, but I suggested instead we go to the place we normally go to dump tanks when we leave Napa. Skyline Wilderness Park always seemed like a fun location, close to the south side of Napa Valley, and right next to the city of Napa proper. The campground struck me as kind of meh and parking lotty, but that was exactly what I was after. I wanted a place that didn’t have a lot of big beautiful old oak trees that might fall on top of you in the middle of the night. I wanted a place where there was more than one entry/exit route, and was neither in a river valley nor at the top of a peak. A nice high ground location with service and hookups for as long as the power stayed on. This place fit the bill.

Downtown Napa at night

It was raining when we left, and raining when we got there, and rain predicted the whole three day weekend. But we were so happy to be out, we didn’t even care. We went out to dinner all three nights, because when the going gets tough, the tough enjoy Thai food. There is an overwhelming selection of incredible restaurants in Napa. Our first choice was Chetuphon. It was so good. We had shrimp Won Ton soup and chicken satay and a spicy curry over Jasmine rice. Wow.

I don’t think this golf course normally has water features

We both always sleep better in Dory than we do at home, and the rest was much appreciated. We got to laze around for a while in the morning, and then we ventured out for a long walk on a paved multi-use trail through Kennedy Park. The Napa River Trail intersects several other paved routes up and down the valley, and will get you to the heart of downtown in about two and a half miles. We first did a loop around the park to the south, which spends a lot of its time taking you past some extensive homeless encampments. It also runs along the Napa Golf Course, which more resembled an archipelago with all of the new lakes that had formed. The shorebirds looked delighted. It is a striking juxtaposition to see the encampments looking right onto the fairways. I imagined how hard that would be to be sheltering under tarps in that kind of weather.

Rain kilt for the win. Richard does not care if you are scoffing. His shorts are dry.

We continued northward on the trail until we got pummeled by a downpour. We had geared up pretty well, with rain jackets, rain pants for me, and of course, the infamous rain kilt for Richard. He loves that thing by the way. He says it is the perfect way to keep his shorts dry and not feel clammy. Nevertheless, we weren’t really trying to do extreme hiking, so we turned around and went back to the car. Then we drove back to Dory because we had wet socks and no one likes that.

The Dutch Door – it is really just a door

After wringing out, we drove the short distance into town and reveled in the fact that there was a Ben & Jerry’s store. Lord, that was fun! I had earned the calories, not only for that, but for another splurge for dinner at The Dutch Door. This is literally a hole in the wall place, with one outdoor table, thankfully under a heater and a generously overhanging awning. I had the absolute best Korean fried chicken sandwich. YUM.

The person at the counter mentioned we were the most excited customers she had ever had.

Sunday was more or less a repeat of Saturday, though this time we walked the trail all the way into town. Well, to Ben & Jerry’s really. That was the actual destination. Between Mint Chocolate Chance and Chocolate Therapy, I cannot decide. We hoofed it back to where the car was parked and ended up with five miles and enough earned calories for a third night on the town. Our final dinner was enjoyed at Yak and Yeti, Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. We had the veggie Momos, which are steamed and filled dumplings, Tandoori prawns, and the “Chicken 65,” which is a house specialty. This, plus fresh baked naan and rice. If I put a pound or two back on after all the splurging, I do not care. It was worth it.

I’m not sure what the water levels normally look like, but I’m betting lower.

We had a really wonderful weekend, especially considering it was during a historic natural disaster. The city of Napa seems to have handled the excess water quite well. Even though the river was flowing full throttle, I didn’t see or hear of any places where it was backing up. I mean, besides the areas right by the river, like the city park and golf course. You could see lots of floating debris getting carried downstream, and the water was a thick brown color from all of the mud. but it was holding. And Napa is a super fun town to explore. All in all, we think it was the right call to go out, and to not go to Sugarloaf. In these circumstances, being in town with services and paved walking areas was the perfect thing on a rainy three day weekend. We don’t normally do city things when we go camping, and this was a reminder of how much fun that can be too.

All weather passes, eventually.

And guess what! California’s reservoirs are filling up! After a two week inundation, Shasta went from something like 32% capacity, to over 51%. Shasta is huge, so that is just nuts. Yay California!

Total miles: 37.3, 16.0 mpg, 1 hour 39 min. Site 1. Electric hookups. Good dump. Excellent 5g cell for both. Gate closes at 5pm, but they give you a code to get in. Super close to town and all services imaginable. Did really well in atmospheric river with no flooding and very few puddly sites.

2 thoughts on “Skyline Wilderness

  1. Well, you two are braver than me because I refused to go anywhere. Flooding, people getting swept away (yikes!), sewage backing up from treatment plants, washed out roads & bridges. I watched my redwoods and oak tree soak up the atmospheric river water and was so happy for them. In between rainstorms, I put seeds out for the birds and squirrels. I travel to Santa Barbara on Thursday to see Matt and his wife, Mel. I love ‘doryomania’. So appropriate. Staying dry and safe, Dee.

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