The first thing that happened had to do with last night. Not this current last night, but the last night before this day, this day of odd surprises. I had made reservations before our trip for last night in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I had struggled over which of the two main campgrounds to reserve in, until I saw one that was rumored to be more beautiful, but sort of off the beaten path and maybe a little difficult to get there. We thought that would mean less people, more privacy. I envisioned it as being in the main park, just kind of…further back and off to the side from the two big campgrounds. I hadn’t, actually, looked it up on the map. So it is a good thing that we hadn’t really tried to make it there in the dark the night before.
So here we are, trolling along in the Avenue of the Giants, taking pictures of huge trees and finding geocaches, when we stopped near a sign at a pullout. The GPS was telling me I was 150 ft away from a cache, but it looked to be straight up along a hill, into the forest. Usually in caching, if there seems to be a hard way there, there is probably an easier way there that you are missing, so you should look for it – this is what we have learned in the years we’ve been playing. Probably also in those years, we should have learned to use our GPS properly – like make sure it has settled when you stop, and also make sure it is set back to “find off road” when you have been using it in the on-road navigation function. So it seemed like the easiest way to approach this was to go up a short ways to the turnout for a campground, and then park in there and go down the hill to find it.
We pulled in and realized there was a day use fee. As we were asking the ranger about the possibility of accessing the area for free just to see if this was the closest route to the geocache, and her telling us that she was pretty sure there was no geocaching at this particular park, I finally noticed the name of the park on the side of her guard shack.
Hidden Springs Campground. THIS was the one we had the reservations for. This one, I never would have found the night before, because I thought we were headed somewhere off 101, not 254 – the Avenue. Well, once I explained to her that we paid for camping the night before and had not used it, she recognized our name and told us what campsite we were going to be in, and gave us our little day fee pass for the window, saying we should at least get our money’s worth.
Turns out the closest parking to the cache was, in fact, campsite 7, where we had been assigned. We pulled in and explored, and then I headed downhill. Way downhill. All the way to the bottom of the hill. All the way to the pull out. All the way to the sign we had been parked right in front of when we decided that in order to find this cache, we would have to look up.
To see the sign that read, “Hidden Springs Campground”.