Camping with Young Ones

Last month I went on three camping trips with the kids, to the Summer Music and Arts Festival, Grizzly Creek campsite, and with my partner to Ruth Lake. We had a great time and no one got sunburned! Here are a few quick tips on how I made it camping for a month with my kiddos!

The Sumer Music and Arts Festival was the hardest of the trips. We were vending and had a fairly large pop-up behind our booth but it’s not easy keeping a ten-month old in the shade. He enjoyed walking around and listening to music. I brought ear muffs for the kiddos so they could enjoy the stage and a wagon to pull the baby in. We were placed next to a yoga dome that was never built so there was less traffic our way. My daughter got poison oak in her eye on Sunday and we had to rush to the ER and they dosed her with steroids. I’d say we reacted properly and got her help as soon as it was obvious the swelling wasn’t going to go down with over-the-counter drugs. I came back to pack up without the kids. We brought lots of water to this event and had friends camping with us to help along the way.

Grizzly Creek Campsite we were able to cook on the fire. Check-in took a little while but the kids played with the freshwater spickets. Friends came and went and our dog Zed protected the campsite. Halaya set up her first tent which was a huge accomplishment. I took the kids swimming and Malakai had a blast in the water. He wasn’t a fan of his LifeVest but we had a lot of fun in the shallow area. I didn’t bring enough formula and the surrounding stores didn’t have any but I was able to contact a friend to bring it before it was too late! Camping with the kids isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem. The baby wakes up twice a night and I have extra bottles made. I made the bottles with hot water but I might have made a bottle or two during the day without making a fire and heating it. We brought baby sunscreen and a little sun hat. Halaya read to me at night and wrote a haiku in her journal. On Sunday we went hiking and explored the forest and river. I used my Ergobaby backpack to comfortably hike with the baby. It was a path off the road that doesn’t look like it gets a lot of foot traffic and leads to a beautiful clover field.

My husband got jealous of all our camping and wanted to come with us on an excursion. He loves to fish, so we went to Ruth Lake. Ruth Lake is beautiful. You can see the trees on the hilltop are burned from recent fires and have a white tint. The valley had come back, with lots of greenery and life. We wanted to camp at Boy Scout Camp but so did everyone else because it was full. I would recommend getting a reservation for that one, word says it has great fishing. Instead, we settled for the first campsite Fir Cove Campsite. The sites were more spread out than the other sites, there was easy access to the water and hiking trails. We brought both the dogs on this one and they did great! Halaya and I walked the trail closest to the water and it lead to the next campsite. We swam in the water which was mushy and full of tall grass. I swam pretty far out and the weeds continued to tickle my body. We cooked hot dogs and let the dogs swim after the beach was clear of other guests. We drove around looking for the perfect fishing spot but couldn’t find it. I recommend reserving a boat, fish are released into the lake seasonally.

Overall camping with the kids is magical. In the forest, no work and time spent together. I loved every moment I got with my children, friends, dogs, and husband. I appreciate everyone that was a part of my camping excursion. The biggest tip is not to forget sunscreen, lots of water, and formula. Don’t be scared to sleep in the tent with the kids and spend time under the stars.

Till next time!

Foraging Mushrooms in Humboldt County

If you’re familiar with my blog, you might have read my post “Places to Hike in Humboldt County.” Headwaters Reserve. This beautiful salmon spawning preserve has more to offer than meets the eye. Take a trip along the dirt paths that branch from the cement road, and a trained eye will see a whole ecosystem full of mushrooms.

Why forage mushrooms? Mushrooms are a fungus that grows from mycelium. There are miles of mycelium under the forest floor, a massive white fiber that communicates with trees and the rest of the duff. Mycelium grows mushrooms for different purposes, from decomposing dead material to forming partnerships with plants. Mushrooms vary in characteristics and design. Some are poisons, some induce hallucinations, and others are great in meals. When picking your mushrooms, be careful which you touch, which you eat, and which you use for medical purposes.

Are you interested in mushroom foraging but don’t know where to begin? There are a few simple steps you can take to start your mushroom adventures!

Amanita muscaria

The best time to look for mushrooms is during the rainy season. Mushrooms grow in different habitats. Some thrive on trees, while others can be underneath ferns or in the dunes and your backyard. In Humboldt, Porcinis form close relationships with pine trees. You may find these and Chanterelles also under spruces. Oyster mushrooms like to expand on dead and dying alder trees. Ways to identify mushrooms is by using a book such as Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast by Noah Siegel. Other ways to identify mushrooms are taking pictures and using an app or a Facebook group. At first, it might be overwhelming. I don’t recommend searching for a specific species unless you know that it will be growing in a particular area. In identifying mushrooms it is also important to recognize the surrounding trees.

Humboldt County is a mecca for mushroom foraging. There are many trails and forests where you can find all types of shrooms! The mushroom community is supportive and will help guide you in safe foraging. While mushroom hunting, you should only take what you need, don’t take all the mushrooms (!), and leave no trace. It is bad ju-ju to sell natural resources, including mushrooms, so do it for fun and your community! My neighbor blessed me with chanterelles that we put on our steak, and it was the best meal I ever had! These kinds of actions not only put a smile on someone’s face but create memories that are not easily forgotten. Mushrooms foraging is a family sport, so grab your loved ones and head to the woods to see what you can find! You are continuing the mushroom life cycle just by walking through the terrain.

Lactarius aestivus

Please follow habitat guidelines. It is strictly noted not to walk off-trail at the headwaters preserve. Stick to the dirt trail!