Coast Camping

So many good things have come into my life through the farmers market: good food, of course, but also new friends, recipes, restaurant recommendations and travel tips. Last week, we scored a campsite through the farmers market. It was a Saturday night, booked-six-months-ago campsite right on the Marin coast that two customers of Mr. WholeHog’s weren’t able to use.

steepravineview

It was probably the most beautiful campsite I’ve ever had. It was perched on a bluff over the Pacific and had a view of the ocean and also of SF off in the distance. On the other side of the small, seven-site campground, we could see the long curve of Stinson Beach.

steepravine-camptent

From the campground, we had easy access to the hiking trails on Mt. Tamalpais. After we set up camp, we headed to Stinson Beach to pick up a few essential (bourbon and chocolate). We picked up the Steep Ravine trail right across Highway 1 and walked through the woods until we connected with the mostly exposed Dipsea trail that leads right into town. It’s a gorgeous walk, especially this time of year when so much of Mt. Tam is peppered with wildflowers.

dipseatrailtostinson

Dipsea trail on the way down to Stinson Beach

steepravine-stairs

When we got back to camp, we reheated some of Zuni’s asparagus and rice soup and sat up on a rock in our campsite to eat and watch the sun set over the Pacific. (One thing I like about overnight camping is that we don’t have to bother to do much cooking or clean up.) It was shaping up to be one of the best camping experiences I’d ever had: the site was spectacular, the weather was beautiful, the hike into town was terrific.

steepravineviewfromtop

But the downside of camping, even in a small, secluded campground like this, is that you are still around other people. Mr. WholeHog and I usually try to minimize the number of people we’re around by going places in the off-season or on off-days. We don’t do much camping in the summer, for example, and we tend to camp on Sunday nights, not Saturday nights. We want to avoid the chumps, as my grandfather called the people who’d flood in to Tahoe every Friday night and leave every Sunday night. And unfortunately, we ran into some chumps at a neighboring campsite, who sang, screamed and played an amplified guitar late into the evening.  It didn’t entirely ruin our experience, but it was a reality check: even in one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, even in the nicest campsite, there are still jackasses.

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