Monday, September 5, 2011

henry cowell redwoods state park

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a delightful park in the Santa Cruz mountains, offering peaceful respite among the redwoods.

I have camped at Henry Cowell on two occasions, and am thus in an ideal position to instruct you as to the finer points of said campground. However, I feel that the artistic element of this guide has been lacking as of late, so allow me to discuss my two visits in a more nuanced form.

My first visit can be represented as a play in one act.

Characters:
Chris, the bumbling planner
Benj, the too-trusting friend
Dave, the friend suckered into driving

Enter Chris, Dave, and Benj

Dave: Oh no, looks like the campground is closed.
Benj: I guess we'll have to camp somewhere else.
Chris: But in Utah, you can just pay the fee and nobody will care! Let's do that.
Dave and Benj (with misgivings): Well, okay, who can argue with that logic?

They pay, set up camp, and hop in their sleeping bags

Dave: Boy, I sure love camping.
Benj: Me too. This is great.
Chris: What's that noise?

Enter Officer Gow and Deputy, guns and maglites drawn

Officer Gow: PARK POLICE! GET YOUR HANDS UP WHERE I CAN SEE THEM! GET OUT OF THE TENT! GET OUT OF THE TENT!
Chris: Can I get my glasses?
Officer Gow: HE'LL GET YOUR GLASSES! GET OUT OF THE TENT!

Chris, Dave, and Benj get out of their tent, clad in their pajamas,1 hands up, and are directed to a picnic table by the Colt .45. Deputy rummages through tent for the next ten minutes looking for weed.

Officer Gow (writing up three $120 tickets): Where are you boys from?
Benj: Palo Alto
Officer Gow: What are you doing down here?
Chris (meekly): I wanted to see Loch Lomond sir.
Officer Gow (grunting): Loch Lomond?
Chris: Yes sir.
Officer Gow: Why do you want to see that?
Chris: Because of the song, sir.
Officer Gow: The song?
Chris: It's a Scottish song, sir.
Officer Gow: A Scottish jig, eh?
Chris: Yes sir.2
Officer Gow (distributing tickets): Well, you boys had better be gone when we come by in another hour, or we're taking you all to jail.

Officer Gow and Deputy leave, but not before ticketing Dave's car for $60, then peeing on it for good measure

So, as you can see, I hold a special place in my heart for Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, as does Dave, and as does Benj,3 and oh boy, do I have a very special place in my heart for Officer Gow.4

So I was super excited when I was invited to return to the scene of my crime and camp there last weekend. Lucky for you, my second visit can be represented by a lone haiku:

Hammock in the trees
Wake up to a summer breeze
Face attacked by bees

aaaaaand that's the last time I'll be spending any time in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I invite you to go and enjoy it without me.

Protip: Don't camp there when it's closed.
Protip 2: Don't disturb hives of yellowjackets which then attack you and your group in swarms and you run away screaming "BEES! BEES! YOUR FIREARMS ARE USELESS AGAINST THEM!" while dozens of other campers stare at you, and you are then forced to spend the next two hours running over to your campsite to grab some gear, and run away while being chased by angry bees, all while hoping that the sting right next to your eye doesn't swell up and detract from your driving abilities.

1. That is, our underwear.
2. And here we come to my greatest regret in life. I've said and done a lot of stupid things, but it all would have been worth it if I had listened to my gut and began singing the Scottish love song I planned to sing on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond the following morning as the sun rose. Alas. I did not. Such pain is mine. Oh, such regret.
3. Dave has yet to forgive me. Benj may have, I'm not sure.
4. It is a goal of mine to forgive him. We're still working on releasing sincere hatred.