Today's hike brought to you by DayQuil

Having a nasty cold and taking hikes on chilly mornings don't usually go hand in hand but when you are on vacation and determined to find some peace in nature damnit, you'll do what you have to do to make it happen. Enter DayQuil SEVERE (I'd prefer extra strength but they called it severe so there ya go!).

We dosed ourselves up, drank like a liter of water and orange juice and found ourselves on the wrong highway going to the wrong place. I say "found" like someone other than me put us there. I put us on the wrong road because I thought for sure the GPS was wrong, so I went right when I should have gone left. In my defense we still got where we wanted to go but I'm pretty sure our little detour cost us at least 20 minutes. I'd like to think that I actually did us a favor because when we arrived at Big Basin Redwoods State Park we only had to wait 10 minutes for the camp store to open, which was where the all important coffee was located. 

We paid our $10 entrance fee, parked, and consulted the map of the park. I had already decided what hike I wanted to do days before our arrival so it just left us to find the trailhead on the map. 

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a nostalgic place for me. I spent many, many happy times camping with my family and my parents best friend's family there (and Big Sur!) when I was a kid. As soon as I hit Felton no matter who I'm with I'm instantly transported back to the days of riding in my parents VW Bus packed to the brim with camping gear. I'm so incredibly grateful that I have those memories to call on. The very first camping trip that Daniel and I went on together was to Big Basin so we have our own memories and stories attached to the Park adding to my good feelings. 

16 year old Leah in the baggiest overalls EVER, camping at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

The hike that I chose was Sempervirens Falls. Due to our wet winter a lot of the trails at the park are closed so I was happy to find that my chosen trail was open that morning. The Sempervirens Falls Trail is an easy walk along the Sequoia Trail, although we ran into some really muddy areas which proved a challenge. A few of the muddy spots were easier to navigate because someone kindly used fallen strips of tree bark that you could leapfrog to get across the mud safely. There was one spot along the trail that was so muddy that we had to hang on to tree branches and use the embankment to get passed it. We looked like we were repelling off the hillside. I honestly thought the tree branch might break and I'd land bum first in the mud. 

I thought this was ingenious- the rangers had us fill it out and leave it on our dashboard.

One of the super muddy spots. If you look closely you can see the strips of bark to help traverse the mud.

At the end of the trail we were rewarded with the sounds of the rushing waterfall still swollen from our winter rains, and an empty viewing platform. We had the place to ourselves. By now our DayQuil had fully taken affect so we weren't feeling too miserable and actually took some pretty epic Boomerangs which I'll post to Cheer Up Old Bean's Facebook page and link HERE. We really were having the best time and spent the majority of the walk back to the park headquarters laughing and doing our own version of the Ministry of Silly Walks in the deserted road. 

The rushing waters of Sempervirens falls and the lovely wooden stairs and viewing platform

The diffused lighting through the trees was beautiful. No filter necessary for this photo of the fallen tree that was just no match for our winter.
These really cool plants were all along the side of the road. They looked like some kind of fern. If anyone knows I'd love to know what they are.

Daniel enjoying the meadow along the Redwood Trail. Apparently this was turned into a swimming pool in the 1940's but was restored in 1952

The campfire center

We made our way back to Santa Cruz ready to feast on fish and chips on the pier. We have a tradition when we stay at the Dream Inn that we eat at the same restaurant on the pier and have fish and chips. We walked the pier and located what we were sure was the building that had the restaurant that we go to in it. What used to be Gilbert's is now FireFish Grill. Apparently the remodel, name change, and menu update happened back in 2010, so that just shows how observant the Granthams are. The food was delicious and I indulged in some vacation day drinking and ordered a Mai Tai. Woo, was that puppy strong! I ended up having to share it with Daniel because halfway through and I was a bit more than buzzed. I wanted to be able to walk out of the restaurant on my own unaided. 

With full bellies and jolly (read slightly drunk) spirits we made a beeline for the Casino Arcade at the Boardwalk. I had a hankering to play vintage pinball and a few rounds of Skee-ball. We walked around a bit confused at first though because we were trying to figure out where to get tokens to play. This my friends is where I felt super old. They don't use tokens anymore, instead you use a card like a debit card and swipe it at the games. It's all electronic. I told Daniel, "Don't you breathe a word of this!", then blabbed it on the blog here for all of you to read. You heard it here first, even old school arcades have updated to the 21st century!

Love me some skee-ball!

A Game of Thrones pinball!!

Happy girl playing Game of Thrones pinball. I'm easily entertained.

That night we stayed in and enjoyed the view from our balcony and the sounds of the sea. It was to be our last night of vacation sleeping on a comfortable bed. Camping was next on our agenda and a great mattress was definitely not included!


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