Day 20- Gasquet, CA
This morning was an odd one and had the potential to ruin the day. Maggie hired on with a new school for this upcoming school year, and they are trying to navigate what it will look like to open their doors to both teachers and students in the fall, while doing everything they can to keep everyone safe. That being said, Maggie has had quite a few Zoom professional development meetings and conference calls that have been scheduled during our time on the road. Miraculously, the first two meetings happened to be scheduled during long drive days, and Maggie was able to pull a hot spot from her phone with minimal coverage loss to complete both 6 hour sessions. Today was different.
Yesterday was a long, winding drive down US 101 from Oregon to California, and with each curve of the highway, it seemed we would wind in and out of cell service. Mostly out. As we passed through a small town where we evidently had coverage, both of our phones started singing with notifications. One of Maggie’s notifications informed her that there would be a conference call this morning at 9:15 am. Out here in California, that’s 7:15 am. No, that’s not that big of a deal except the chances were slim that we would have service at our campground along the Smith River.
We continued to wind in and out of service and she received another notification with what she understood to be a time change to 7:15 am CDT. This seemed odd to me as earliest working hours in my head should be 8. But then again, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve had a job. This meant Maggie would have to be up around 4:45 am PDT to drive to the nearest town with cell coverage to be a part of this call.
Maggie is hell bent on having her voice heard in this meeting, so she sets her alarm, gets up, and drives to town on the pitch black, curvaceous hwy illuminated only by yellow reflectors that marked the redwoods that butted up to the road. Like clockwork, as soon as she entered town, her notifications indicated she now had service. She waited a few minutes for 5:15am to turn over and she attempted to join the call. Nothing. She tried again. Nothing. She nervously went through her notifications only to find out that the app they are using for the conference call recognized that she was in the pacific time zone and adjusted the time for her to indicate what she first understood- that the meeting was at 7:15 PDT. Tired and flustered and almost defeated, she made her way back to camp to rest a little before she had to go back for the correct time.
I awoke when she was gone for the second time to start cooking breakfast for her hoping I could have it ready for her upon her return. Our friend, Rebecca, ended up tent camping on the backside of our site, and we chatted as I prepared fresh potato hash and sausage patties. Maggie returned just before the food was ready to be served and shared her woes with us over coffee.
She was ready to move on from the mistake and get to hiking in the Redwoods. After pleading with a tired August to get up and get ready, we piled into the car to follow Rebecca down 101 to see some sights. Our initial efforts to see the mouth of the Klamath River were thwarted by heavy fog that prevented even the slightest view of the coast. We regrouped as Maggie directed us to a few hiking areas suggested by our dear friend, Beth. We then made our way further south to Fern Canyon.
Fern Canyon presented a few hike options for us, and once we got on the trail, we were thrilled! High canyon walls covered in ferns provided shade from the sun as we hiked over pebbles, fallen trees, and a cold, clearwater stream. This section was more populated that we desired, so we stayed masked the entire time we were in the canyon. We reached a point in the canyon loop trail that allowed us to veer off the path most traveled, and enjoy some solitude. As everyone else went left, we went right, and all of a sudden, we are in the middle of a redwood forest alone. This is exactly what we wanted.
August is having the time of his life doing his normal off trail exploring while we take in the sites of the massive trees. Rebecca, having lived in the area, had quite a bit of knowledge of the redwoods and we soaked it all in in the presence of the fairy rings. We hiked in awe of the power and spirit of the redwoods until August said he was ready to turn around. We made our way back down to join the tail end of the loop to continue back to the car.
Once we got back to the car, we realized there were multiple trails that led to the coast just over the dunes. The fog had lifted by this point, so we immediately started the hike to the ocean. It was just beautiful. Hardly a cloud in the sky. August and I collected rounded off agate stones and skipped them into the surf as a sea lion played in the shallows to our right.
This is the best of both worlds for me. The beach and the woods are my two favorite places to be, I’m enjoying both without even moving the car. I’m loving the pacific coast. We stay for awhile letting Aug get soaked as he played joyously in the surf. After our return, I checked my pedometer to reveal we had just crushed 5 miles of hikes. Tired and hungry, we returned to camp.
I started a fire before a feast of grilled beets and zucchini and a garden fresh griddle fried rice. We sat by the fire as we ate, drank, and laughed until our eyelids were too heavy to hold themselves up. Another great day in the books.
Until tomorrow, be good to yourselves and each other.