When we noticed a campsite available for Big Basin for one night this long weekend we decided to go camping. It was bit of an experiment for me – to see if I could sleep in a tent. Last time I tried was our weekend at Big Sur the first week in May. That weekend, I found that I could not sleep in a tent for two nights. I was exhausted by the time we got home. So, when we went camping in the Eastern Sierra’s, we rented a van so that I didn’t need to sleep in a tent. That worked well but isn’t a good option for a quick weekend get away.
The other reason for going up to Big Basin was to do a couple of longer hikes. In the last few weeks (since vacation), I’ve been doing more and more training for the Avon Walk – which is next weekend. It has snuck up on me! Thank-you everyone who has donated to help me be able to participate in the walk. Back in May, I had resigned myself to walking only 4 or 5 miles. Even that would be a stretch given my neuropathy. However, my Aunt (who is generously coming from Canada to walk with me) has encouraged me. She too has been training, and wants to make an attempt at the entire walk (23.8 miles/38.3 km on Saturday, 15.5 miles/24.9km on Sunday).
I decided (crazy me) that I was ready to step up my game and go for a 10 mile hike! It felt a little contradictory to be signing into an ADA campsite (California State Parks have campsites that can only be used by people with ADA placards, that is, handicapped permits), and then asking the ranger for recommendations for a 10-mile hike. And more so, it being 2pm and us planning on going for 10-mile hike that day! The park itself was a complete zoo. There were warnings on the way up that the day use area was full. The way the park is designed, when that area gets full it backs up the ‘highway’ that runs through the park, making it more difficult for anyone to get anywhere. We were lucky enough to find a place to park for long enough to register – then parked at our campsites and headed out for a hike from there.
For our first hike, we ended up turning around a little earlier than the recommended hike – in part because we parked at our campsite, which added 2km each way to our hike. In the end, we hiked just shy of 10 miles (15.3 km). In my lifetime I can only remember two other hikes that might have been longer (Robinson Ridge in Kitimat and Fishing Cove Trail in Nova Scotia) the Internet is telling me that both were shorter!
Initially our thought for our second hike was that we would take it easy. My knee had been bothering me on the downhills, so we thought we could make it to the falls and then take a bit of a climb (400m/1300ft climb!) out of the falls and follow the fire road back – which in theory would be less steep. The falls turned out to be a bit further in than we had originally thought – we again found ourselves rationing our water (oops). But, we did it. 17.3 km and almost seven hours of hiking later, we were back at the campground headquarters. We were thankful that the camp store was still open, such that we could reward ourselves with an ice cream before hopping in the car for the 90-minute drive home.
Today we are both a little stiff. We are going to need to go for a short walk around the market to help loosen things up a bit! Overall, I’d say we had a great weekend. I’m feeling a lot more prepared for the Avon Walk next weekend, and looking forward to visiting with my Aunt when she arrives on Wednesday!