July 15-18

Richardson’s Grove Camping

We go on a camping adventure at Richardson's Grove State Park in Humboldt County in Northern California. This state park along the South Fork of the Eel River is an old growth stand of coastal Redwoods. The 9th tallest tree in the world is located in this grove. Toby and his family has often camped in this park while visiting family in Arcata about an hour drive north.


Day 1 - Sunday, July 15 - Drive to Richardson's Grove

After getting the house ready for the ceiling repair we were ready to head out at round 8:30am. The car was mostly packed the night before except for food. On our route we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge vista point on the Marin side of bridge. We then drove north along Highway 101 toward Humboldt county. We again tried to stop by the Asti Winery before Cloverdale but it was closed. We stopped in Ukiah for lunch at McDonald's before continuing on our drive north. It was sunny and warm with temps in the low 90s around Ukiah.

We arrived at Richardson's Grove at around 1:30pm just before check-in time, but our site was already vacated so we were able to unpack and set up our site early. Our site #32 in the Huckleberry Campground was suprisingly large and nicely secluded from neighboring sites. There were 'bedrooms' areas where a tent could be pitched away from the main area. We picked a 'bedroom' right next to a large redwood tree.


After we were settled into our site we went for a short hike around the campgrounds. We walked along the majestic redwoods along the exhibition trail on our side of Highway 101. From there we walked along the park road which went under the highway to the river side of the park. We did a quick stop at the visitor center before heading down to the Eel River. With the warm tempertures and being a weekend, the river was active with families enjoying the refreshing waters.

We headed back to the site to blow up our air mattresses and to prep for our dinner but before cooking we took another short hike along the exhibit trail for more photo opportunities during the afternoon light. The night before Toby prepared a stew which we heated up for our dinner that first night. As the sun went down so did the temperature. I made a fire and we relaxed that evening before turning in for the night.

  • Car all packed up and ready to go

  • The new Doyle Drive project (in progress)

  • At the Golden Gate Bridge vista point

  • At the Golden Gate Bridge vista point

  • Toby driving north on Highway 101

  • We approach Richardsons Grove

Looking up at the redwood trees in Richardson's Grove

  • Looking into our site #32

  • From site #32 looking out toward the pantry and road

  • Setting up our tent in one of the 'bedrooms'

  • Looking at our tent next to a large redwood tree

  • Toby bringing in supplies to the tent

  • At the exhibit trail on our side of Highway 101

  • At the exhibit trail on our side of Highway 101

  • FWEE

  • Next to a fallen tree with lush ferns and clovers

  • Tall redwood trees everywhere

  • Along the South Fork of the Eel River

  • Along the South Fork of the Eel River

  • Along the South Fork of the Eel River

  • Crossing the 'summer' bridge to the popular swimming area

  • The main swim area

  • Back our site

  • From the road looking at our site

  • The picnic table full of supplies

  • Along the exhibit trail

  • Lush ferns carpeted the park

  • Along the exhibit trail

  • Lush ferns carpeted the park

  • Along the exhibit trail

  • Heating up the stew for dinner

  • Heating up the stew for dinner

  • Dinner time!

  • We purchased firewood for $8 at the ranger checkin station

  • Warmng up by the fire

  • Warming up by the fire

  • Warming up by the fire



Day 2 - Monday, July 16 - Day on the Eel River

We woke up to clear sunny skies yet cool morning air. We warmed up with coffee and a pancake breakfast. After Toby prepared a couple sandwiches for lunch we headed down to the river. It was around 12:3o by the time we reached the river but yet there were hardly any people at the river. We walked across the river to an 'island' to separate us from the people who would arrive. Since it was Monday, the amount of people enjoying the river was much fewer than Sunday. The water was nice and refreshing and there was a deep area of water where we could swim. Most of the water level along the river was low and barely waist deep. We used our new beach chairs on the rocky ground which was very relaxing. While at the river we had our lunch and spent a few hours relaxing. By mid afternoon a few families were at the river. The temperatures were in the 80's and perfect for a day in the sun.

That evening for dinner we made fajitas and later that night played games of 'Bump' (Aggrevation) and 'Shanghai' (31).

  • Waking up

  • Pancake breakfast with Spam and cantelope

  • Having breakfast

  • Yum yum

  • Flipping pancakes

  • Looking for the perfect site along the Eel River

Looking south along the Eel River from our 'island'

  • Relaxing along the river

  • Our our little 'island'

  • Lunch time

  • Working on our tans

  • In the refreshing Eel River

  • In the refreshing Eel River

  • In the refreshing Eel River

  • Relaxing along the river

  • Relaxing along the river

  • Relaxing along the river

  • Driving back to our site

  • Back at camp getting ready for dinner

Seemed like we had our own private swimming area from our little 'island'

  • Fajita dinner

  • Time to warm up by the fire

  • Inside the redwood tree by our tent

  • Playing 'Bump'

  • Playing 'Bump'

  • Playing 'Shanghai'



Day 3 - Tuesday, July 17 - Rained Out!

We woke up to the sound of pitter patter on our tent... is that rain? We were NOT prepared for a wet camping experience. We were able to deal with the heavy 'mist' but it stopped long enough for us to cook an egg breakfast with corned beef. But just as we were finish eating dinner we heard the large rumble of thunder and soon the heavy mist became heavy rain drops. We did our best to cover what was exposed and ran for shelter in our tent. The rain didn't let up and we were stuck huddled in our tent.

Since it was still morning around 10:30am and not wanting to just do nothing, we decided to just go for a car drive up along the coast. We drove north along a wet raining Highway 101 toward Eureka. Not only was the weather wet and stormy the temperatures dropped significantly. It was like we went from summer to winter in one day. When we reached Eureka the rain had turned into a heavy mist. We drove by the historic Carson Mansion before heading north again toward Arcata. This is the town Toby's mom side of the family lived for many years. We parked downtown by the town square and walked through the various quaint shops that lined the streets.

By this time the rain had stopped and there were hints of blue sky and sun. We decided to take our chances and head back to the campsite which was easily over an hour drive south. On our drive the sky became increasingly darker with the return of rain. There were episodes of heavy downpours just before we reached Richardson's Grove. Luckily it wasn't raining when we returned to our site and the heavy rains never returned. After we accessed the 'rain damage' to our site we went for a walk back down to the visitor's center and along the interpretive trail by the center. A very informative ranger told us where the tallest tree was in the grove and some history around the structures in the park. From the center we walked toward the river which was almost devoid of people. We walked across the bridge and found the start of the Tourney Trail. We walked a little bit of the trail which meandered through a grove of redwoods on the opposite side of the river. After a short hike we turned around and headed back toward camp. We walked throught the Madrone Campground and did the Lookout Point Trail which overlooks the river. Back at the campsite we prepare our last night dinner of hotdogs, spaghetti-Os, and squash (from toby's garden). I did my best at lighting a fire with partially wet wood. We ended the evening with a couple of games before turning in the night.

  • Time to get up and start the day

  • Waking up in the tent

  • Morning coffee before the first rain

  • The first wave of rain hitting our tent

  • Huddled inside the tent during the first rain

  • Rain soaked table

  • Dry enough for breakfast

  • The heavy rain hit right after breakfast. A pool forms at the site

  • Hitting the road north toward Eureka

  • Taking the old 101 by Benbow

  • The Carson Mansion in Eureka

  • The downtown square in Arcata

  • A victorian home in Eurka

  • A bar in Arcata "Toby and Jocks"

  • An old theater in Arcata

  • The bay between Eureka and Arcata

  • The redwood grove along the interpretive trail

  • Lush ferns and clovers cover the ground

A fern grows near a piece of fallen redwood along the Grove Interpretive Trail near the visitor's center.

  • The old snack shack by the visitor center

  • By the old telephone tree

  • In front of the visitor center

  • The redwood grove along the interpretive trail

  • The redwood grove along the interpretive trail

  • Park ampitheater

  • The redwood grove along the interpretive trail

  • Center tree is 9th tallest in the world

  • Deserted Eel River

  • Along the Eel River

  • Along the Eel River

  • Crossing the bridge

  • The popular swimming hole was practically empty

  • A slight drizzle started to come down

  • In a grove of redwoods on the Tourney trail

  • Hiking up to Lookout Point

  • At Lookout Point

  • At Lookout Point

The popular swimming area of Richardson's Grove was practically empty this cold rainy day. One kid was in the water with his mom watching.

  • At Lookout Point

  • Heading back from Looking Point

  • At the walkthrough tree

  • Dinner time

  • Toby cooking hotdogs

  • Warming up at the fire



Day 4 - Wednesday, July 18 - River then Drive Home

The tent was heavily saturated from the rain and the floor of the tent was 'moist' as were the walls. If the pillows touched the wall it would get wet. We wake up that morning to dry skies but had to pack up all our gear that was still wet. After an oatmeal breakfast we pack up the site and were ready to head out. By this time (almost noon) the clouds started to break through to blue skies so we head back to the river to make up for 'lost river time'. We made sandwiches earlier and had lunch along the river. People started to come down to the river to enjoy a nice day in the sun. We strolled in the shallow waters of the river to cool off. While in the water we noticed schools of fish would follow us, nipping at your legs. We spent a few hours relaxing in the sun before packing it up and hitting the road south.

We left Richardson's Grove around 3:30pm and arrived in the Bay Area around 7pm. Since the lighting conditions were perfect at the Golden Gate Bridge we stop off at Marin Headlands to take the postcard perfect pictures of the city through the bridge.

We had quite an adventure camping up in the redwoods. We didn't let the rain damper our experience. Until our next camping journey...

  • Packing up our gear

  • Car getting packed up

  • Sayng goodbye to site #32

  • Back down at the river to enjoy the sun

  • Lunchtime at the river

  • So glad the sun and warmth returned

Nice way to end the camping trip with a warm sunny day along the river.

  • FWEE

  • Down at the river

  • Dragonfly

  • Down at the river

  • Soaking in the warmth



  • School of fish following us

  • Hitting the road back home

  • Approaching the bridge from Marin

  • At the Marin Headlands

  • At the Marin Headlands

  • At the Marin Headlands

  • At the Marin Headlands

  • At the Marin Headlands

  • At the Marin Headlands

The Golden Gate Bridge from the first viewpoint along the Marin Headlands.