Once we approached Santa Cruz, we were so close to home. But I didn’t want to go home. Not yet. I wanted to take Scromp to the giant redwood trees of Big Basin Redwood State Park, up in the Boulder Creek wilderness. There was so much more to California than just the picture-perfect beaches. Our days of state or national parks and hiking trails were finally drawing to a close and Big Basin Redwood State Park was our last park before finishing up with Christmas at a friend’s in Napa.
An early arrival was required in order to reserve a campground and hike a longish trail with the very few hours of winter sunlight remaining. Due to the heavily shaded woods, the campground (and park) were perpetually dark and damp. It was quite dim as we prepared for our hike inside Scromp, but as soon as I opened the door and stepped out at 9am that morning, I was awestruck by the myriad of rare morning rays of sunlight streaming through the trees. Normally the Santa Cruz region is consumed by fog, preventing any bit of sunlight to trickle through the way it did that morning. We definitely lucked out with this rare treat. I made Chris move the car for a better photo opportunity.
And finally, the hike. We hiked along the 11.5-mile Berry Creek Falls Trail, which brought us up close to giant redwoods, a plethora of mushrooms, slimy banana slugs, and three waterfalls. Here and there majestic giants staggered, ranging anywhere from fairly young to more than 2,000 years old.
Although we completed the hike before sunset, darkness soon awaited us as the heavily forested woods and looming trees kept the low sunlight away. Within a couple hours it was pitch black and nibbling cold outside, and we enjoyed the cozy warmth from the interior of Scromp. Even simply listening to the stark silence of the woods was magical.
The next morning we headed out for Napa. Without any more exploration and discoveries on this 3.5 month journey around the U.S., it felt like the trip was over, especially when we passed through the Bay Area. But still, there was one final destination, a destination filled with love, familiar faces, great company, hospitality, and friendship, perfectly timed for the holidays.
Memories from the 5-month Romping & Nguyening Adventures Part 1: Southeast Asian Tour have been shelved, and now new memories from the 3.5-month Romping & Nguyening Adventures Part 2: U.S. Road Trip are about to sit alongside Part 1. Soon, we’ll be getting excited for Part 3: South America!
This post is part of Travel Tips Collection: California.