OR/CA regional campout
posted April 23, 2017 3:43 PM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Fri September 29 at 4:00 PM, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, California, Redwood National and State Parks, 1600 US-199, Crescent City, CA, USA (Map & Directions)
After noting the success of previous Oregon-Washington regional campouts, some California MeFites suggested one down thataway.
This time around we've settled on Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park Campground for Friday afternoon Sep. 29 - Sunday morning Oct. 1.

The campground is 6.5-7.5 hours north of San Francisco (depending on which route you decide to take) and 5.5-7 hours south of Portland (ditto). I'm sure we'll find all sorts of hiking available nearby, and the ocean is 20 minutes away as well.

It looks like campsites are on the small side and have one tent pad apiece; so unless you have a really small tent and you're willing to share with someone else with a really small tent, we'll each have to reserve our own campsite. RESERVE EARLY (and often!)
posted by Greg_Ace to Meetup (62 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Also, I apologize for taking so long to make this post that we've probably missed the opportunity to do this in late spring/early summer.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:08 PM on April 23


I'm here to vouch for the pure wonderfulness that is a regional campout and want to encourage everyone to go to this that can. I'm not sure that I will be able to be there given distances involved and vacation days, but I will be with y'all in spirit!
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on April 23


The weather in Northern Ca is great in the fall. Is Crater Lake to far for the Cali people to come? I had done some research on a lake area near Medford. I will try and find it and see if it might be an option.
posted by cairnoflore at 12:45 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Find out when deer hunting season happens in whichever area you choose.

The best fall weather is usually reserved for the hunters.

Remember to wear orange ....
posted by hank at 9:31 AM on April 24


I spent every memorial day weekend as a child sailboat racing and eating smores at Whiskeytown NRA. So maybe that's an option. Very nice if folks bring kayaks etc..
posted by vespabelle at 9:55 AM on April 24


I have never been to Crater Lake and totally want to go there. But it is a 7 hour drive from here (San Francisco), whereas Shasta is only 4 hours. But carpooling with other mefites could make a long trip pretty fun! Whether I could make it to either one depends a lot on the timing and some other stuff that I can't predict yet.
posted by aubilenon at 10:08 AM on April 24


I am totally into this idea! I have very limited camping experience in Northern California so I defer to the hive mind's expertise.
posted by sacrifix at 11:18 AM on April 24


I think our ground rules, based on previous trips, are:
-Must be able to buy firewood, ideally on site
-Toilets (pit is fine)
-Reserveable
-Water available (?)

I think Castle Crags (the state park) fits the bill nicely. It's not terribly far from the freeway, which is good so we aren't adding extra hours of driving on a state highway. And it has onsite hiking for the so-inclined.
That said, it is crawling with both human-acclimated bears and poison oak. As will be everywhere in that area :)

If we wanted to go coastal, there are a lot of options in the Crescent City-to-Brookings swath of 101. Redwoods, myrtle, carnivorous plants, fewer bears, much less likelihood of burn restrictions for campfires. Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP on the CA side has the BEST REDWOODS ANYWHERE. It's straight out of Tolkien, that forest. 6 hours drive for everyone! J.Smith is reservable through Sept 30. On the OR side, there's Alfred A. Loeb SP.
posted by janell at 12:51 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I like trees.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:03 PM on April 24


Tiny pony: Can we attempt to not schedule this during Burning Man? Dates are August 27 - Sept 4.
posted by sacrifix at 1:08 PM on April 24


I had a weird thing happen when I tried to go to Jedediah Smith last year -- our camp permit made it look like it was ADA-accessible, whereas the park ranger told us it was ADA-ONLY and refused to allow us entrance. We went up the road to a county park and lucked out in finding a great spot, and the camp host there told us they'd talked to 3-4 other groups that week that ran into the same issue. I've heard a lot of awesome things about JS but double-check what site you're reserving.
posted by curious nu at 4:34 PM on April 24


I have camped at Panther Flat Campground on 199. It tends to be sunnier due to being farther East than Jedidiah Smith. Nice swimming hole, nice bathrooms with lukewarm showers, places to hike, but an 8 drive up the coast from the Bay Area in perfect driving conditions.

Castle Crags looks very interesting.
posted by cairnoflore at 6:51 PM on April 24


How long are you thinking? A weekend (fri-sun)?
posted by aubilenon at 9:41 PM on April 24


Our usual procedure is to stay two nights, trickling in Friday late afternoon/early evening and leaving Sunday before the typical checkout time of 2pm. I tend to take both Friday and Monday off - Friday for traveling, and Monday for easing back into the mundane world...but that's just me.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:31 PM on April 24


Having said that, if someone wants to camp for only one night, that's fine! Join us anyway!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:42 AM on April 27


Castle Crags looks nice, and is about how far I would want to drive in a day. I'm down for a weekend. If other people are going to bring their kids, I would bring my daughter (6). No kids is fine too.
posted by sacrifix at 4:17 PM on April 27


We're usually a kid-friendly bunch, as long as the parents are reasonably attentive and don't mind their kids seeing adults having a few beers in a relaxed low-key manner.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:46 PM on April 27


I am into this camping plan. I will bring a cortex and he will bring a guitar and we will sing dumb campfire songs. Are campfires likely to be allowed?
posted by Secretariat at 8:35 AM on April 28


I don't see a mention of campfire banning on the Castle Crags page, and an Internet search for "california state park campfire ban" didn't bring up anything either. I tried to call the Park but nobody answered. I guess we'll need to remember to check again later in the year.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:41 PM on April 28


To my knowledge, campfires are fine as long as they're in established campsites with a fire ring. They're not allowed in the backcountry, and if the season gets especially dry they may be temporarily banned.

I'd be interested in going to this, depending on my availability. Weirdo that I am, I would be more than willing to bring or make historic 19th century trail foods.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:23 PM on April 28


Oh we are total foodies, and since it's car camping we throw caution (but not campfire embers) to the wind as far as bringing provisions. We eat well!

What would "historic 19th century trail foods" consist of? Not pemmican and stale hardtack, I hope....
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:38 PM on April 28


Captain's wafers are definitely involved. Bet you can't eat more than just one!
posted by hippybear at 6:54 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Okay, so what's the process for picking a date? doodle? Will it help to wait fir more people to find the thread or does picking the date earlier make it easier for other folks to commit?
posted by aubilenon at 1:56 AM on April 30


Anybody got a Ouija board?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:42 AM on April 30


Basing my guess on last year's weather for the area, I'd suggest one of the weekends of September 29, October 6, or October 13.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:59 AM on April 30


Castle Crags is a wonderful campground. It is near Dunsmuir, a lovely town which has an official slogan of "Home of the best water on Earth". And I can wholly agree on that. It has great fly fishing waters on Sacramento River if you are into that. The picturesque Mossbrae Falls is an easy hike to get to along the Union Pacific Railroad.

Along the CA coast, Mendocino is a great destination. For camping, Van Damme State Park is a good choice. Great recreation around the area too. Canoes and bikes can be rented at Big River. Tons of hiking trails. Further north, Fort Bragg is nice as well if you like quaint working fishing villages. And for those coming from the Bay Area, driving through Anderson Valley along highway 120 can be reminisce of old Napa Valley before it got touristy.
posted by gloturtle at 2:37 PM on April 30


Yikes, too late to fix a typo. For Mendocino, it is Highway 128 through Anderson Valley, not 120.

Addition, Mendocino is a bit further south than what OR mefites might want to travel.
posted by gloturtle at 2:48 PM on April 30


While I'm thinking of it, I want to thank everyone for all the great suggestions so far! I'm going to keep all of them together in a file, for more camping ideas later.

Let's start trying to get a consensus, with an initial choice:

1. Jedediah Smith/redwoods
2. Castle Crags
3. Somewhere else?
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:57 PM on April 30


I'm more inclined to let everyone else pick a date, since I'm not 100% sure what my availability will be then anyway.

I've been curious to check out Jedediah Smith for a while now, personally.

Also, historic trail foods... er, not hardtack and pemmican, but hardtack and salt pork or bacon (I think pemmican might have been more of an eastern thing, or at least I haven't seen any references to it in accounts of cattle drives and military camps). Fortunately, I also have some historic chuckwagon cookbooks, which are more along the lines of chilis and hashes and that sort of thing, and those are pretty tasty. Hot chocolate made with cocoa, hot water, and condensed milk is surprisingly good (I think that's more of an early 20th century recipe, though).
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 6:15 PM on April 30


Yum! (The cocoa. Salt pork can go either way. Other items are unknown to me in real life. )
posted by janell at 9:22 PM on April 30


Well bacon is known to me
posted by janell at 9:22 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I am fine with any of the proposed dates. I graduate in 6 weeks and still haven't found a job yet so my schedule is wiiiiiide open! *sobs*
posted by sacrifix at 5:10 PM on May 1


I do believe any of those dates will work for me, as far as I can tell at the moment. And I'm pretty into either of the locations. I have a couple friends in Klamath Falls, OR so I was originally imagining stopping by there on my way to this camping trip (Mt. Shasta area)- but a trip to the Redwoods sounds fun too, so I'd happily head that way if people are more in favor of that.
posted by Secretariat at 8:22 PM on May 1


I'm sensing a slight lean toward coastal redwoods...? Please, speak up, I'd love to encourage a maximum possible number of people happy and involved and excited about this event!

Bear in mind that lead times for reserving campsites in popular areas are in months, not weeks or days (unless, like, incredible luck runs in your family or something). If we want to schedule a weekend in the fall, we're already in the critical 6-4 month period for snagging what we want before it's booked.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:09 PM on May 3


Welp, I just checked the Jedediah Smith reservation website and the weekends of Oct. 6 and 13 are already booked! Not only that, but Castle Crags is full for all three weekends. Ai-yi-yi. Do we want to commit to there like RIGHT NOW for the weekend of Sep. 29, or shoot for something at another date and campsite, or slide the date to next Spring?

Again, I'm sorry for putting off posting this until the last minute.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:51 PM on May 3


I'm on board for the weekend of the 29th in the Redwoods. Or another weekend at a campground closer to Portland.
posted by cairnoflore at 10:09 PM on May 3


The 29th is during Burning Man, but that's fine with me, I'm not going this year.
posted by aubilenon at 8:43 AM on May 4


(...to burning man. I'll try like heck to go to this!)
posted by aubilenon at 8:43 AM on May 4


The prettiest sites with views of the river are taken, but campsites 15, 16, 18, and 20 are currently available. I'll try to find out whether they'll fit 2 tents so we can cozy up and save money, otherwise we'll each have to reserve our own site.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:22 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm all for it, Redwoods on the 29th- even if we end up camping dispersed, it would be nice to have a couple of sites side-by side for the "hangout" area.
posted by Secretariat at 11:34 AM on May 4


The Redwoods are lovely, and the 29th should work really well with my schedule (but I'm only a maybe). We'd be biking down, so if anyone wants to bikepool from Portland, get in touch!
posted by aniola at 5:52 PM on May 6


The 29th is fine. Of course it is the same weekend as Oregon flock & fiber, but is is ok. Bogs full of carnivorous plants are right up my alley.
posted by janell at 12:44 AM on May 7


I'd really like to go! I'll confer with my girlfriend, but we've both been meaning to drive up north for a long time, and I haven't been up that way in at least 10 years. Plus, if anyone is driving up from the Bay Area, you can stop at the Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka on the way up. It's the last of the lumber camp cookhouses! I've never been, but my mom used to go in the 70s, and she says it's great.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:02 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


I think you should just declare the date will be 9/29-10/1.
posted by janell at 5:23 PM on May 7


I think we can do that weekend. And it's a month *after* Burning Man.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:59 PM on May 7


I think so too janell, just giving the weekend viewers one last chance to put in a word. If nobody speaks up for an alternative, I'll reserve site 18 on Monday morning and make this event official.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:27 PM on May 7


Ok- I reserved site 20 for the 29th and 30th. The sites say maximum 8 people and maximum 2 vehicles. I am 2 people and 1 car, but I listed 4 people and 2 cars when I reserved and am happy to share the space. Looks like there's lots of sites available- including a few cabins if there are people who would prefer to not camp, and some nearby walk-in sites if you'd like a little more distance for your tent.
posted by Secretariat at 9:22 AM on May 8


Confirmed!

I've reserved site 18, since as far as I can tell it's got a suitable setup for communal meals and a central fireplace to gather around, and sites 13, 16, 19, 21, and 23 are available as of the time I'm posting this comment (NOTE: 17 is handicapped-ONLY).

As usual, once September rolls around I'll post a Google Docs spreadsheet to help us plan meals, equipment, etc. And since fresh seafood will be a short jaunt away, we could discuss replacing Bring Your Own Meat night with Bring Your Own Seafood...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:04 AM on May 8


I have site 15. :) There will be room for more people & another car if needed. The only iffy item is the size of the tent pad.
posted by janell at 10:20 AM on May 8


Oh good, I noticed it had been reserved and I was hoping one of y'all had grabbed it!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:45 AM on May 8


I just reserved site 16.
posted by aubilenon at 11:13 AM on May 8


I got 19. Still not 100% sure if I'll be able to make it, but their cancellation policy is reasonable.
posted by sacrifix at 11:28 AM on May 8


I now have a second tent sharing my site on Saturday. (Yay, camping trip!)
posted by Secretariat at 3:40 PM on May 8


Oh, I should say about site 16, I only have a small tent, so I can easily share the site with someone.

(Also, exact timing TBD, but I'll be driving from San Francisco, and can carry up to three more people and associated gear in my car)
posted by aubilenon at 4:01 PM on May 8


I may want to carpool with you! I'm in Davis at the moment.
posted by sacrifix at 10:11 PM on May 8


My heart's cockles. They are warm. I'm so glad y'all are getting this together! Yay for regional MeFi camping trips!
posted by hippybear at 10:08 AM on May 9


I would like to go and have reserved Site 21 just in case. If anyone is thinking of NOT going because there are no site let me know because I may not be able to come (Husband has work that weekend and not sure if I want to solo it down.)

But I am really missing s'mores (and trunk meat) so I am a solid maybe.
posted by vespabelle at 5:49 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


Trunk meat!
posted by janell at 8:39 PM on May 14


:( those poor elephants
posted by aubilenon at 8:54 PM on May 14


Origin of "trunk meat" reference, for those who are perturbed about punctured pachyderms.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:04 PM on May 14


Vespabelle, we should have a spare seat in our car (yes, even with all our camping gear) if you'd like to carpool!
posted by Secretariat at 7:40 AM on May 15


Just a note to anyone who hasn't reserved a spot yet - only site 23 is left unreserved in the area where we're clustered. Lots of spots still open elsewhere, just not as close to our main grouping.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:31 PM on May 18



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