Rejuvenating one's soul

By Amy Boyle in camping art rejuvenating amy boyle photography beach ocean wildlife family san francisco breathe

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..." -Henry David Thoreau, WALDEN

 

Ok, I did not go to the woods, but we did go camping. For the last two years, my darling husband has been game to honor my wish to go coastal camping in California. Lucky for me, he also enjoys it! Who would really take all your camping gear on a plane almost 2000 miles to sleep on the sand? Good thing bags fly free with SWA and my space estimator husband can really make the most of the 50 lbs per bag limit.

We arrived in SFO to blue skies after a fog delay at LAX! Our rental car awaited and we made tracks for 24 hrs in the city. First stop was the local REI, so we would have the fuel for our uber compact camping stove we'd need in the next few nights. Dropping off bags and the car at the hotel, we headed out the door to show our teenage sons the city. After being on a plane for many hours the big hike up California Street from Embarcadero was a welcome stretch. Stopping again at my old apartment, Grace Cathedral and to pay homage to the GE engine that still runs the motors at the Cable Car switch house.

We were now ready for the wharf and a visit with an old friend. Getting a glimpse of Alcatraz, the pre-America's Cup hoopla, and of course the harbor seals. I think they picked the right boat for their nap, agree?

After an amazing dinner at the Stinking Rose and many breath mints later, it was now a new day. As we have been biking all summer, why not rent bikes and head to the Golden Gate Bridge?

I am much more a trail rider and have to say the city riding was a bit of an uncomfortable thing for me. (Sorry for freaking out, honey!) The views and temps were worth it!

Biking left us starving, so we located lunch and were again underway. First camping destination, Sonoma State Beach. We arrived early enough to get to pick our own quiet site and set up camp on the side of a sand dune. Fog was coming in, so we boogied out to Santa Rosa and found a quaint pizza parlor that really hit the spot. Along the way seeing some of the prettiest cattle ranches and hillsides imaginable.

The next few days we explored many of the local beach trails, saw extensive wildlife (Who knew Quails were so cute!), hiked at Bothe-Napa State park, partook in the Bodega 18th Annual Wine and Seafood festival and saw some amazing sunsets!

Wild pink lilies are all over the hillsides!

Redwood canopy reflections at Bothe-Napa State Park

It was now time to break camp at Sonoma State Beach. We took a gorgeous morning ride to Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Picnicking along the Inverness Trail was so relaxing.

It is funny how the simplest food can taste so incredible when eating al fresco with your family!

As luck would have it our last full day was spent at my favorite place on earth!

This campsite is not for the faint of heart as the drive in alone is on one of the steepest windiest single lane roads. We stopped at the Stinson Beach Market before arriving to get all the provisions needed to throughly enjoy the natural beauty  and quiet for just shy of 24 hours.

Truly trying to savor every moment, we stayed up late as the waves crashed below, the moon rose, and the fire crackled away. Here are a few photos of what the campsite looks like under moonlight!

Our last morning hike was so incredible. The sun was out early and there was no fog. Our scramble down to the rocky coastline had us passing a family of Deer and many Quails. When we were actually at the shore, the starfish were exposed in between the crashing waves. Minutes later a pod of dolphins came into view and played in the surf. As soon as they made their way north, a pair of seals came by, and finally an otter. 

Truly rejuvenated on so many levels, it was time to head home. Blessed and grateful for this truly amazing vacation!

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