Sundays are the best because that means we get to hit the trails with Dad too! Since it was going to be another hot summer day we knew we needed to get into the redwood forest. We decided to make the trip up to Portola Redwoods State Park, Big Basin’s little sister with far less crowds. The drive is just a small price to pay to have the trails mostly to yourself.
It took about an hour to get there. We parked, got our Keens on, put Eleanor in the Osprey, chugged our coffees, and made a quick stop at the bathroom. And that’s when I remembered that my monthly visitor arrived this morning and I didn’t have any tampons with me! I swear, not having your period for 15 months can make you feel like a tweenager again. Luckily, my kickbutt husband has no shame in asking a nearby woman for a spare tampon for me, which he promptly did while I awaited in the bathroom. Men who grew up with sisters make the best husbands. Crisis averted thanks to the kind woman parked next to us.
Portola Redwoods State Park
Portola Redwoods State Park has many trails to choose from and we are still exploring. For this trip we started out on the Slate Creek trail and headed up the mountain towards the trail camp. Portola Redwoods has several car camping spots and backcountry trail camps as well.
I enjoyed watching Charlie carry Eleanor through the trees as she smiled with her tiny arm outstretched. We love to tickle her face with a low hanging redwood branch. She loves to look around and touch the bark and leaves.
We reminisced of the last and only other time we visited Portola Redwoods State Park when we hiked the 13 miles to Peters Creek Grove and back and somehow managed to get lost. Charlie says getting lost is part of the fun but I think that’s only after you’ve found your way back.
We continued on to the Summit trail which we planned to follow back to the park office in 1.6 miles.
The Summit trail let out on the Old Haul Road where we headed down the paved road back towards the car. We continued along until we came across a short trail down to Pescadero Creek and Tiptoe Falls. This trail snaked down the mountain to the creek where we sat and enjoyed some fruit we packed. It was a serene setting with the sound of the flowing creek. E took a seat with her feet in the flowing water and loved splashing around touching the rocks with her hands.
We continued on to Tiptoe falls where there were a few other families. Children were playing in the small swimming hole below the waterfall. The pool of water was surprisingly clear and not surprisingly, I was bit by a mosquito within 3 minutes.
We didn’t stay long and headed back out while Eleanor fell asleep. The 1.5 mile hike back to the park office was mildly difficult.
Once back to the car all of us were in good spirits feeling refreshed from our visit to the forests of Portola Redwoods State Park. E quietly played with a toy as we climbed the windy road back out. The views of the Santa Cruz mountains on the way out reminded us of the vast amount of unexplored land we have waiting for us in our own backyard.
We look forward to coming back and exploring more of Portola Redwoods’ trails and if I can ever plan far enough ahead, spending the night among the giants!