Okay welcome back! Let’s jump right in! When I last left you, the five of us were in a bar in San Francisco on the 4th of July…
By some miracle of god (aka some of us chugging bottles of water on the uber ride back to our van) we made it home and into bed with minimal injury ~@Jessie~
The next morning we awoke to our van surrounded by cars and suburban white moms, so we decided to make a run for it. Without even changing out of our PJs, we drove to the closest McDonalds parking lot to feel a little less judged lol. There we used the bathroom, repacked our van, and devoured some T-to the A-to the-S-T-E-Y breakfast (love me some McGriddles amirite Jess?)
Our plan for the day was to head back into the city to do some more exploring before having to drop Nicole off at the airport at noon so that she could make it back to school for a test she had the next day – brutal to the extreme.
We drove past the famous Painted Ladies houses (stopping was not allowed bc parallel parking Denise on a 60 degree incline seemed pretty close to impossible) as we made our way towards the Golden Gate Park which was rumored to have a dope view of San Fran and the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB). But, in true SF fashion, it was foggy as shit and a kind park employee laughed at us and told us there was no way we’d be able to see the bridge from the park. Ah, such is life.
Instead, we decided to head to the Presidio of San Francisco, a park located right at the base of the GGB. None of us knew anything about this park but that had pretty much been the theme of the whole trip thus far and we hadn’t died yet!
In this park, we were able to walk up to dopeeee views of the GGB and we could even see Alcatraz in the distance. Obviously we stayed here for a while doing
ridiculous necessary photoshoots and taking the same pic of the bridge 800 times. When a tourist…
Once we finished up at the GGB, it was time to take Nich to the airport and say goodbye to a great friend and an even better scapegoat to blame all of our problems on ❤
Sad tears cry sad bye sad cry tears
Phew glad that’s over. As soon as we dropped off Nicole, the four of us that remained began our long drive to Humbolt State Park, a part of the redwood forest about 4 hours north of SF. About an hour into our drive, we stopped at a Walmart to pick up food and supplies for the next 3 days of camping as well as In-N-Out because, well, duh.
Back on the road, everyone fell asleep while I drove and got a solid tan on the left side of my body. Never miss an opportunity to tan folks.
When we finally arrived in the redwoods, we were completely floored by the sheer size of the trees. They were so so so tall! Like 64 Beccas tall! Let me give you an example
On our way to our campsite, we stopped at one of the many “Drive Thru Trees” that we had been perpetually told not to drive through because some other idiots had tried it and had gotten stuck. Hey, we might be idiots, but at least we’re not those idiots.
We made our way to our campsite and were quite pleased to find that it was smack in the middle of the forest. There were giant trees all around us and hiking trail heads right across the road. Whoever booked our campsites for this trip did a superb job *thumbs up* We unpacked and excitedly cooked dinner for the first time not in the pitch dark. What luxuries! We had a lottt of hot dogs and s’mores and settled in for a beautiful night by the campfire.
The next morning, we slept in, due to the fact that the canopy of the trees basically blocked all sunlight and the only indicator that it was time to get up was how badly I needed to pee.
With no plans but to go hiking for the day, we dawdled around the campsite cooking breakfast and getting ourselves put together (plz don’t confuse “put together” with showering bc that definitely didn’t happen).
Once we finally departed our campsite in search of the trail we had decided on, we immediately turned the wrong way out of our campsite and ended up about 11 miles in the opposite direction in a small town called Miranda. Conveniently, we needed to go to Miranda anyway because that was where the closest ATM was located. Inconveniently, the ATM was out of cash. Like, of course. But, for some reason our tire pressure light had turned on, so we used this opportunity to put some more air into our tires without any help!!! We’re becoming quite the car connoisseurs! If anyone needs automobile assistance, you probably still should not ask any of us tbh.
We eventually made it to the area where our trail started and decided to follow some signs that said “Giant Tree.” Me like giant tree. Tree big. Tree tall. Tree pics here.
We then embarked on a 9 mile hike on the Bull Creek Trail, which was later described to us as the “cadillac of redwood forest hikes.” Go us! Throughout the hike, we were flabbergasted by the incredible views and the enormous trees, I swear all we said during those four hours was “oh my god, look how tall it is!!!” (besides when we were singing trail songs and making any nearby hikers feel v uncomfortable of course).
When we returned to our campsite, we were all exhausted so we decided to set up our hammocks and ‘hang out’ for a bit (ha ha ha puns).
After a little rest, we walked over to the Visitors Center and were delighted to be informed that there was a guided nature hike starting in just 5 minutes! We are huge nerds so obviously we were the
first ones in line for this only ones on the hike. Want to know what we learned from our ADORABLE guide, Harry? I bet you do! Oh you don’t? I don’t care. I’m going to tell you anyway.
- In the canopy of the redwoods, little pockets of soil can form and other trees can plant their roots there. Researches once discovered a 50 foot redwood whose roots were 150 feet off the ground
- Most trees, including the normal ones around your neighborhood, have tap roots, which are a set of roots that dives deep into the ground in order to maximize the tree’s ability to retrieve water. Unlike other trees, Redwoods, some of the tallest trees in the world, have wide roots instead of deep tap roots (they don’t have tap roots at all). HOW DO THEY DO IT???
- In the canopy, the leaves of the redwoods grow tight and dense, while lower on the trunk, the leaves are more loose and spread open (see picture below) (yes, those leaves are from the same tree)
- In 1964, the Eel River flooded and reportedly poured more water into the ocean than the Mississippi and Columbia rivers combined. That year, the water level in Humbolt reached up to 13’6″. A visual chronicle of this can be seen on all the trees in the area as there is a clear water line on the trees that can be seen once you look for it. (see picture below)
- Poison oak is everywhere and we probably have it. It takes about 3 days after exposure for the effects of poison oak to show up. It has currently been 48 hours. Will report back with updates.
- The cones (think pine cones) that redwoods grow from are TINY! Like 1 inch big. And they grow a 64 Beccas sized tall tree! HOWWWWWW (see picture below)
- +TONS more but I won’t bore you anymore with my newfound need to know everything about trees
We got back to our campsite and prepared a feast of salad, chicken, potatoes, and grilled peppers and onions for dinner. Man, we should really start a campfire cooking Pinterest page. Obvi Victoria and I pregamed dinner with hot dogs roasted over the fire so like yeah, it was a pretty great day.
We ended our night sitting around the campfire making s’mores and listening to Jessie talk. Fun story: at one point Victoria fell asleep while Jessie was talking only to wake up 20 minutes later and Jessie was still talking. Classic.
On our last full day in the redwoods, we awoke and heated up our leftover potatoes for breakfast. Why are potatoes so versatile?! They’re truly the diamond of all foods. I stand by that.
Over breakfast, we decided to go on another hike with the intention of hitting a swimming hole at some point along the way, so that’s exactly what we did. Our hike was about 3 miles and we ended up at a part of the river where there were some other families and children playing in the water. It was a bit windy when we first got there so we laid out our towels and sunbathed aka all of us PTFOed and Jessie and Grace got burnt again. Life is such a vicious cycle (for white people).
When we woke up from our naps, Victoria and I decided to go for a swim, so naturally I grabbed my GoPro and we headed into the water. Hahahah well stupid me decided that since the water wasn’t deep and since we were only going in for a quick dip, the GoPro flotation stick wasn’t necessary, I could just hold it in my hand while we were in the water. All was fine and good until Victoria got out of the water and I decided to stay in to swim around a little more because Jessie and Grace were going to get in soon. Hahahah stupid me tucked the GoPro into my bathing suit top and flopped around in the water and called to my friends to get in because the water was noice. Hahahah stupid me somehow, not surprisingly at all, dropped the GoPro out of my bathing suit and didn’t realize for an undetermined amount of time. Cue huge freakout by me as I frantically start to search the water around me for the glimmer of the GoPro at the bottom of the river and cue all of my amazing friends rushing into the water to help me look. All of us were waist deep in water, trying to peer through the ripples to get a view of the bottom while using our feet to cover as much ground as possible. This went on for a good 20 minutes. Hope was being lost as every rock I picked up was in fact, not my GoPro. Things are replaceable, right? It’s fine it’s fine, there’s only footage from our entire trip so far on there nbd.
“We’ve got it,” Grace said more calmly than I’ve ever heard her say anything in her whole life. I almost ignored her out of stress/disbelief that anyone could have actually found it. “No seriously, we found it!” Jessie proclaimed as she fished the GoPro off the floor of the riverbed.
HOLY COW. I have never been so relieved in my life. And I still haven’t taken the flotation stick off my GoPro.
Thanks to all who participated in the search, y’all are true pals ❤
Having had enough events for the day, we hiked back to Denise and returned to our campsite to hammock and chill and cook dinner. That night’s feast was fire grilled corn, Mac and cheese, green beans and popcorn, and was obviously once again pregamed with hotdogs. Nom nom nom nom nom.
At 8 pm, we made our way over to the Visitors Center where Harry (remember our adorable nature walk guide?) was leading a community bonfire event. We didn’t really know what to expect but what we got was more than satisfactory.
Harry had an entire powerpoint prepared and taught us even more about trees and the history of the redwood forest. I even won a magnet for answering a question right! (okay yes it was a question that Harry had told us the answer to the night before but whatever, I remembered).
When the community bonfire was over, we went back to our campsite and had a perfect last night sitting around the fire eating dessert hotdogs and s’mores.
(I know the title of this blog says 7 days but day 8 wasn’t a full day so it doesn’t count. Shh it makes sense)
Our morning started with a rude wake up call from my alarm at 4:30 am because we had to make a 4 hour drive back to San Francisco and return Denise by 10 am. Uggggghhhhhhhh. We packed up our campsite and hit the road by 5 am, with me driving while everyone else slept. Well Jessie insisted she was “wide awake” but then was dead asleep 20 minutes later when I looked over. Copilot of the year.
We drove for about 3 hours until I had to pee so badly that we were forced to stop. Also a very convenient time to eat some of the leftover mac and cheese from the night before 😉
After that it was a pretty boring drive into San Francisco until we ACCIDENTALLY DROVE ACROSS THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE! I say accidentally because we legitimately had no idea that the freeway we were on went over the bridge and we had been trying to bypass it to avoid paying the toll. Regardless, it was an awesome experience driving through the fog almost 800 feet in the air, possibly made even better by the fact that it was not planned even in the slightest.
From the bridge, finding the campervan place was an adventure in itself. If you ever decide to rent an Escape campervan out of San Francisco, don’t be alarmed by the fact that their business is literally a giant gravel area underneath the highway surrounded by copious amounts of very kind people who are homeless. Other than that, and that their ‘office’ appears to be a glorified rental storage unit, the establishment was quite nice.
Twas painful to say goodbye to Denise
We had about 5 hours to kill before it was time to leave for the airport for our flight, so Jessie looked up a library that was nearby and decided that it would be a great spot for us to hang out for a bit while we figure out what we wanted to do.
Carrying all of our belongings, Jessie led us through a very smelly, sketchy looking neighborhood to a building that was 100% NOT A LIBRARY. Slow clap for Jessie.
Immediately after arriving at the said library, we called an uber and had it take us to the Asian Art Museum, simply because it was the cheapest of all the SF area museums. But, the signs on the outside of the museum stated that bags would be checked upon entry and no outside food or drinks were permitted. Well, since we had just emptied out our campervan full the leftovers from a weeks worth of snacks + our leftover mac and cheese from the night before, we had a lot of outside foods and drinks on our person. So, we hauled all of our stuff across the street and settled on the stoop of the City Hall building to hide our snacks/polish off the rest of the mac.
Okay, storytime: So at City Hall, tonssss of people were getting married. We probably saw 15 couples in about 45 minutes. But there was one couple in particular, Cody & bride with no name, that made an impact on our lives.
We watched this couple celebrate their brand new marital status on the steps of City Hall with all of their friends and family surrounding them, Cody in a snappy blue suit and bride with no name (BWNN) in a gorgeous wedding dress. The two snapped pics together and then waved as everyone in their wedding party got on a trolley and departed to an unknown destination. Once the crowd was gone, Cody announced that he was going to go for a quick walk and told BWNN that she should stay put at City Hall. He handed her back her bouquet of flowers and disappeared around the corner. About 5 minutes passed and Cody still hadn’t returned. Nervousness was beginning to creep onto the face of BWNN. Another 5 minutes passes. BWNN begins pacing up and down the street, no sign of Cody. 5 more minutes, blatant worry takes over the face of BWNN. Another group of people walks past BWNN and turns to us and says “oh no, was that the groom we just saw running away?” “WHY YES, IT PROBABLY WAS!” At this point we were way too invested into this story. BWNN is starting to lose it. 5 more minutes. Out of nowhere, a car, driven by someone that BWNN apparently knew, pulled up and BWNN got in. “I lost Cody!” she exclaimed to the driver. With her in the backseat, the two of them sat and waited for Cody to return. 5 more minutes.
WHERE IS CODY? Did he get lost? Did he get post-wedding cold feet? Did he get carried away trying to catch Pokemon? Did he get kidnapped? Is this all an episode of What Would You Do being broadcast on ABC?? SO MANY QUESTIONS.
Finally finally FINALLY Cody appears, doing a light jog, from the opposite direction of where he departed from. When he realizes that BWNN is not where he left her, we all eagerly direct him towards the car where she is waiting and they drive off into the sunset. What a saga.
And that, folks, is the story of the first 30 minutes of one couple’s married lives who we will never see again or know anything more about. Lunch and a show, so magical.
After that epic telenovela series of events, we headed back to the Asian Art Museum where they 1) barely checked our bags because it was clear that we were pathetic weirdos that were carrying around huge backpacks full of very smelly clothes and 2)had a bag check where we got to leave all of our bags! Hooray for not carrying around a weeks worth of possessions through a museum.
All in all, the museum was pretty dope and we learned a ton about Asian art and how it’s made and how it has impacted and matured with each individual Asian country. Quite neat!
When we finished up at the museum, we decided to just chill outside on some grass in a nearby park for about half an hour until it was time to leave for the airport. I promptly fell asleep because there is nothing I love more than sleeping in the sun. That and the fact that I hadn’t slept since 4:30 that morning.
We then waved goodbye to SF, ubered to the airport, made it through security in a jiffy (efficient TSA employees are a true godsend), got weird with the Cheerio stacking challenge, and then before we knew it, we were back in good ol’ Chicago.
Wow, I’m sorry that this blog was so long but daaaang this was a truly wonderful trip. I could not have asked for a better week with the people I love the most and I would do it all over again if I could. Thank you to Apple maps, Denise, hotdogs, and the countless strangers who helped us along the way for making this trip a dazzling success.
To V, Nich, Yessica, and Grace, I love you guys to the moon and back and I can’t wait for our next adventure! I’m already planning 😉