Dry Lagoon Camping

One of life's little joys is impromptu trips. Crystal and I decided that we wanted to take a camping trip with Stewart before he left for Kentucky for the new school year. I researched some campgrounds on the coast, and we decided on the Dry Lagoon Walk-In campground. Just a couple of days after conceiving the idea, we drove to the coast.

Beach Bums

Dry Lagoon Campground is in Humboldt Lagoons State Park. It's a very primitive site, so we had to register at the main campground in the park a few miles south. Once we had the combination to the gate lock, we drove up to the campground for a first look. It is built on the side of a hill directly adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. A main trail winds down the hill, and each of the six campsites is at the end of a spur trail from the main one. We chose the uppermost campsite for two reasons: we didn't want to carry all of our stuff half a mile down the hill, and the view of the ocean was amazing. We could sit at the picnic table and watch the waves roll up onto the beach. The only real downside to the campground was that there was no running water. This meant that the only toilets were of the chemical variety.

Once we got settled, we walked down to the beach to explore. Crystal and I accidently got off the main trail and ended up pushing through an overgrown trail until we finally popped out on the beach. We walked all the way down to the rocks where a headland jutted out into the sea. We played around on the rocks for a while before we made our way back to camp. That night, we grilled steaks and made s'mores.

Redwood Country

The next day, we awoke to the sound of rain hitting our tent. This continues a long tradition of rain on Coates family camping trips. I don't know why, but we rarely manage a camping trip without at least one rain shower. Fortunately, the rain stopped pretty quickly, and we breakfasted on pancakes.

We left camp and drove north into Redwood National Park. I wanted to see some giant trees. We turned off of Highway 1 onto the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. We passed beside grove after grove of some of the biggest trees in the world. We parked the car, and Stewart and I walked down one of the trails for a few tenths of the mile. The forest was lush, green, and awe inspiring. I thought we might walk all the way to the ocean, but a steep downhill and unknown mileage helped us make the decision to turn around before we got there.

After we exited the parkway, we stopped at a little diner for lunch. From there, we went to the beach at the south end of the national park. We did nothing but relax and read there for the rest of the afternoon. After a few hours passed, we went back to camp, where we cooked and ate dinner, including more s'mores.

The night sky was clear, so we walked down the campground trail using a flashlight. It deposited us in the parking lot for the beach. We looked up and were awestruck by the sky. The milky way looked close enough to touch, and we picked out several constellations. We also saw half a dozen or so shooting stars. I do not have the words to describe the beauty of the night sky; I don't understand how anyone can gaze at it and doubt the existence of God.

Beach and River

The next morning, we cooked breakfast and then packed all of our gear into the car. We drove to the main part of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park so we could hang out on a different beach before we left the coast. We ended up at Agate Beach, so named because high tide deposits loads of agates on the sand. The trail to Agate Beach is pretty steep but worth every step. We walked on the beach and then sat enjoying the waves for a while. All too soon, it was time to head back to the car for the return trip.

We hadn't had a shower in three days, and the road home followed a major river for several miles. We stopped at one of the many parking areas and jumped in for a cool, refreshing swim. The water was cold, but not quite breathtaking. A half hour or so later, we climbed back in the car refreshed and smelling much better. A couple of hours later, we were home.

Posted by Greg on September 23, 2004 at 8:00AM.

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