We have been doing some pretty extreme relaxing since we arrived on the west coast, along with taking on some pretty cool adventures. Before we left home, one of our good friends invited us to his farm in California, and as we passed through Colorado he encouraged us to head straight here. And here we are! We drove directly to his house from Colorado and have been making ourselves at home.
We arrived a few weeks ago, and everyone who lives here made us feel like family the second we hopped out of the van.
We’re in Northern California, about an hour and a half from the coast. Where we’re staying honestly feels like a fairytale, in combination with some kind of time warp where it’s hard to know what day it is. We work in the mornings, and in the afternoons walk down to the river to cool down. Along the way, we pick wild blackberries and grapes to snack on, and have several dogs trotting by our sides (I mean, come on, dream come true). The water is blue and crystal clear, cold and crisp. There’s no cell phone service, so friends simply stop by to see what we’re up to that day.
Close by, there’s another river spot that people fittingly call “paradise”. We finally got Nala to swim for the first time (if you kept up with us when we were in Michigan, we thought this was a lost cause for sure, so we were super excited). There are huge rocks to jump from, and deep pools where no one can touch the bottom. We come here to fill our water tanks at the fresh spring that comes from the side of a mountain.
A few of our new friends here work as river guides, so we’ve gone rafting a few times; Labor Day weekend the dam was released above our section of river, and we got a true white water rafting experience. I had done this in West Virginia with my dad once or twice, so I felt pretty confident going into it – I quickly got flipped and dumped from my kayak, and simultaneously was knocked down a few pegs.
Since we’re so close to the coast, Dan and I have also taken a few day trips to the beach. We splurged and ate at a small seafood restaurant right on the water, where we tried a little bit of everything caught close by.
About 30 miles north is Redwood National Park; the park is huge and we’ve only driven through a small section so far, but I was completely blown away. I’ve heard people talk about how big the trees are, but standing next to them and touching the bark that might be more than a thousand years old gave me chills and made me cry all at the same time. We found a dirt road that wound through the trees and followed it all the way to the end, where we stared up at the treetops thinking of how long it must have taken the branches to reach so high.
We heard a guide say that part of Jurassic Park was filmed in the Redwoods, and it felt like that – totally prehistoric and magical and larger than life. Stopping at the visitor center we learned that there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails and a ton of camping, so we are already planning our next trip up the highway to spend a few weeks in this other world.
Originally, our plan was to drive down the coast to visit Dan’s sister, her husband and our brand new niece(!!), but gas in California is almost double the price of anywhere else we’ve been so far so we’re limited on how much driving we can do here unfortunately. We decided to fly instead, and have just landed in LA for a few days! It’s going to be a huge change of pace spending some time in a city again, and we’re looking forward to a change of scenery, and spending some much needed time with family. Back to the woods again in a few days! Thanks so much for reading! 🙂