Friday 23 August 2013

Raindrops keep falling on my tent

(August 8th)

We arrived at our last booked campsite, Prairie Elk in Redwoods State Park, at just about the same time as a large and tenacious thunderstorm. There was nobody at the visitors centre or at the check in, it being 7pm, and as we drove past the first seven sites on the loop - all on grass with no tree cover - I think we were both worrying about getting the tent up. It turns out that the Zs can move swiftly when needed and we got the tent erected in record time, under a giant redwood tree which provided excellent cover. It was a bit of a blessing really because, as the rain persisted, the flattest part of our site became quite water logged since it didn't have the tree cover of the place we picked, and if we'd arrived in dry weather, I think we would have pitched there and been damper for it.

Arriving under such conditions - heavy rain and swirling mist - leant the park a decidedly eerie air. The place is like a cooler version of the jungle in Malaysia: all enormous mossy trees, ferns and hanging vines. I keep expecting to see a storm trooper zoom around the corner, chasing an ewok.

We managed to get some bundles of wood from the camp hosts, a couple of elderly ladies, who came past shortly later in a golf cart, peering at us from under ponchos and questioning whether we were holding rope (we weren't) since nothing should be tied in the trees (we had intended to). After I'd bought the fire wood, in my summer dress and flip flops, thanks to spending the previous night in a cosy caboose motel, an American approached wearing All The Clothes.

Her: well, this is fun, but I'm kind of over it!
Host: um. Ok. What...what?
Her: do you know what the forecast is? When is this going to stop? (It had been raining for all of 20 minutes)
Me: (suppressed chuckle)
Host: I don't know. We don't have satellite connection here so we don't get the forecast...

All evening we've seen groups of Americans bundled up in rain gear. One girl even waved at us as she passed. "We survived the rain!" she called. Mr Z and I sniggered quietly. Rain? This isn't rain. Try 16 months solid and then talk to me. When we finally ventured up to the toilet block for teeth-cleaning, we realised the rain has actually stopped but it continued to sound long after, which I guess is the precipitation making its way down through the dense undergrowth. I read that the redwoods get one third of their moisture needs from the coastal fogs, but they certainly picked up quite a lot extra tonight.

There's a creek running nearby too which adds to the watery music. It's all very relaxing. Between this and the rushing noise of the Truckee river at Silver Creek I am starting to think abut getting one of those white noise generators.

Look closely and you'll see the elk. They were pretty chilled out, wandering among these ferns.

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