Where to go?
Right with the change to daylight saving time, which is in Europe called summer time, and a Friday off school, we went on a first camping and hiking trip to test our camping gear and the comfort of our RV. As Big Sur had burned early this year, many campgrounds at the coast along highway 1 are severely damaged or still completely closed further limiting the anyhow heavily booked capacities. Consequently, we had to search for an available alternative and found a quite remote campground in the northern Los Padres National Forest around 100 miles south of our home in Silicon Valley.
After a night close to Santa Cruz and a great day at the beach at Moss Landing, where you can watch the funny sea otters from your kayak, we visited Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel is a beautiful artists town close to Monterey. Following the adventurous, because bumpy and highly curvy Carmel Valley Road for almost 1.5 hours (for less than 50 miles!), we arrived at the remote Arroyo Seco campground at 36.232210° N, 121.482386° W) with a lake for dry swimming (non-swimmers suited), a fishing pond and great hosts. The lack of water almost all over California this year is not surprising because it has hardly rained since fall 2021! [Link to weather history of, e.g., San Jose/Silicon Valley that shows almost zero! precipitation since Oct 2021].
We got a beautiful FCFS campsite with only a few, nice neighbors and a great view of the night sky for 25 $. The hosts dropped by and we even got firewood to survive the chilly evening at the camp fire. [Although it is quite warm during daytime with temperatures of 80 °F or above (around 25 °C) in this area, the nights are still chilly with temperatures down to as low as 40 °F (< 5 °C). The strategy for that evening was simple: quickly feeding the hungry kids with macaroni and cheese, a cat wash and off to bed. Actually, the rear bed with its starlight illumination turned out to be really cozy. It is approximately 1.3 m x 1.85 m and fits all family members, even daddy being as tall as 1.91 m, very well. As it was the first night in our self-equipped RV, the kids were so excited that we had to rearrange with a kid and adult in the roof-top tent as well as in the rear body, respectively.
On Saturday and Sunday we went on hikes of around 7 miles each including extra distance due to various exciting spots like a waterfall, a little creek and a unexpected bouldering area. The weather was perfect, the wind was temporarily really hot, and the paths were narrow and thus exciting but quite easy to hike. We frequently rewarded the kids for progress with Oreo cookies – literally every few hundred steps – to impede them from getting hangry. Lunch and play time were either at the creek or the waterfall.
To capture the beauty of the area like wild flowers and tiny animals, daddy took his photo equipment and Dorothea her new action cam for underwater video and picture recording (Video is being processed and will be updated ASAP). Literally, Ben stopped at any new blossom. He took close-up shots of the many, but tiny wild flowers of this area mostly crawling on the ground. Some of those might be known to you in central Europe but have probably never been depicted at such magnification (Inge is working on the identification and will update the picture gallery). Due to the wind on the hillsides, almost continuously shaking the little flowers, that was no bed of roses.