Dry Run

Not exactly. The forecast read: 1.25" rain with winds at 25 mph, gusting to 40 mph. So, we went camping!

Our hearts were set on a March 5 trip, thinking it appropriate to celebrate the 4th anniversary of our meeting. As a dry February passed, we worried El Nino would return in March, a resurgence we'd need to welcome as residents of drought-stricken California.  Besides, rain would be a good test for the camper van, right?

 The calm after the storm.

The calm after the storm.

Embracing a pragmatic optimism, we looked for local campgrounds surrounded by redwoods. The coastal mountain forest would offer some cover and is most beautiful in the rain. Memorial County Park seemed like a great option.

I called the ranger to make sure there were campsites available. "Have you seen the forecast?" she asked. There would be plenty.

A downed tree delayed our arrival. A "Bridge Out" sign blocked the road to the more remote campground loops, limiting our options. "Azalea Loop 1 looks great," we agreed.

We drove the loop, unable to distinguish much in the dark, diagonal rain. All sites were empty except for two Appalachian encampments, one complete with bonfire blazing under a tarp strung high in the redwoods. We picked a distant site by the road, assuming we were likely the last to arrive that evening.

We parked in a puddle--every level surface held water--and decided it really didn't matter where the official bathroom was because neither of us planned to walk that far in the pouring rain. We were home.

 The kitchen.

The kitchen.

A couple of bourbons, several handfuls of snack mix, and a dinner of chicken & veggie couscous later, we were dry and full, and dry and warm, and dry and cheerful.

They closed the park overnight because of flooding, and a ranger chased us out in the morning. Up the road a few miles is Sam McDonald County Park, offering day use parking and more redwoods. There we had breakfast and a walk in the woods. Success!