Redwoods and Shakespeare

Day 3 brought more redwoods and no one was mad about it. We drove north to Redwood National and State Parks. After a foggy walk on the beach, we hiked the Trillium Falls Trail. It was perfect – old growth forest, lush ferns, and limited foot traffic. We ended the day poking around the tide pools near our campground at Patrick’s Point State Park.

Left to right: Elk on the side of 101, the verdant Trillium Falls Trail, more redwoods, and the beach outside Kuchel Visitor Center.

In the morning, we pushed on to Ashland. Our last miles on 101 introduced us to delicious salmon jerky and berry jam at Paul’s Famous Smoked Salmon Jerky. Then we headed east for our forested route into Oregon.

Ashland was so fun! We had a great time visiting with my co-teacher Brooklyn and her family. Highlights included eating pizza and relaxing at a free outdoor concert, seeing a 1930s Hollywood take on Twelfth Night, and generally soaking up all the good vibes Ashland has to offer. Thank you, Steve, for your hospitality!

Avenue of the Giants: “Treevia” and Coastal Redwoods

On day 1, Claire and I headed north through Boonville. We enjoyed the free tour and oatmeal stout at Anderson Valley Brewing company before heading to the coast. Glass Beach, our primary destination for the day, ended up being a pretty wacky place. What remains of the glass is truly astonishing. However, the excessive squirrel feeding and glass collecting by our fellow tourists gave us pause. We were delighted to find a little more peace and quiet (and a whale skeleton) at our first campsite.

Clockwise from top left: the coast, Glass Beach, our campsite trees at MacKerricher State Park, Claire the amazing travel buddy by the tent, a whale skeleton,  and Anderson Valley Brewing Company.

The Avenue of the Giants was beyond remarkable. No matter how much “treevia” you learn from ranger presentations, no facts can explain the majesty of these trees. We spent most of day 2 relaxing in the shadow of Coastal Redwoods at our campsite in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. We both agreed that we would visit again.

On the Road Again: San Francisco to DC

The last time I wrote a post for this blog, I was over halfway through the Camino de Santiago. For those of you who were holding your breath – I made it! The Camino was a true journey. I hope to return in the future to complete another route.

For the past four years, I’ve been teaching middle school in Richmond, California. Now I’m headed back east to the Yale School of Managment. I’m incredibly sad to leave my home in San Francisco, but I’m thrilled for all of the new adventures ahead.

With the help of friends and family, I’ll be road tripping across the US for about a month. Follow along by entering your email on the right side of the home page to subscribe. I’d love suggestions for the northern route and questions and comments about anything that strikes your fancy.

I’ve added a few classic views of San Francisco to round out this post. Clockwise from the top left: Potrero Hill, AT&T Park, Dolores Park, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival, and a typically amazing sunset.

The Rain in Spain

According to My Fair Lady, the rain should have stayed in the plains as we approached Galicia.  But as any happy poncho seller could tell you, this has been a very rainy spring in northern Spain.  The climb to O Cebreiro was the rainiest day yet!  As I hiked up a path that seemed more like a waterfall, I considered throwing my backpack off the mountain.

Surprisingly, this turned into one of my favorite days.  The clouds rolled back in the afternoon to reveal one of the most stunning views of the Camino.  And the next day we descended into lush Galicia and a shocking amount of sun.

In the collage below (clockwise, from the upper left): The church in Triacastela, three merry pilgrims in rain gear, the view from O Cebreiro, overpass graffiti, and the most delicious local goat cheese with honey.

Halfway to Santiago

Once you reach Leon, you have crossed the halfway point to Santiago and you feel GOOD.  I felt so good that I decided to treat myself to a rest day.  No walking!  I visited the cathedral (and the candy store across from the cathedral) multiple times.

The collage below features a Gaudi building in Astorga, a flattering photo from day 19, a ridiculously cool medieval bridge, and more meseta.

Burgos and the Meseta

I walked into Burgos on a very windy afternoon, passing the local airport and one aggressive ferret.  The cathedral was, of course, extremely beautiful, but it felt strange to be in a large city again.

And then the meseta.  I have definitely learned a new definition of “flat” on this journey.  As you can see from the pictures above and below, sometimes we walked on roads that seemed to go on infinitely.  I walked a 35 km day for the first time.  And then I walked 40 the next day.  The length of the Camino allows you to challenge yourself in many ways.  It’s almost as difficult to slow down as it is to speed up.

Con Pan y Vino

By the end of the first ten days of the Camino, I had already passed through many interesting regions of Spain.  I couldn’t believe how red the earth was in La Rioja!  It matches the regional wine perfectly.  There’s a popular saying here: Con pan y vino se hace el camino.  This also proved true within the first ten days.

Other notable experiences included wind strong enough to blow me off the road and leaving Nájera at 7 am to a chorus of drunken “Buen Caminos” as the soccer fans stumbled home.  In the collage below, check out a great mural from Logroño and a hilarious sign from an otherwise peaceful rest area.