Lindsey here. I’m stepping in for Mom (Gourmet Girl Denise) with this week’s blog post while she gets settled into her house in the Loire Valley. Bon chance avec votre déménagement!
It was 10am on the Friday before a holiday weekend when my good friend Maryann (see her awesome Bloody Maryann recipe in the The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook, page 28) called me with an exciting proposition. Through tireless searching, she had managed to book a campsite in lower Sequoia National Forest for two nights. I was standing in the middle of the street (literally, the middle of the street) on a film set in Long Beach. I’d been working 12+ hours per day 5 to 6 days per week for over a year, and hadn’t been camping in a year and a half. I was in serious need of this mini vacation. The streets of Long Beach felt like worlds away from those beautiful thousand-year-old giants a few hours north. Of course I jumped on the opportunity to join.
She scored a spot from someone who dropped out at the last minute in Redwood Meadow Campground. A small quiet campground with only 12 sites, about half with yurts. We ended up with a tent spot and that suited us just fine. I had zero time to pack, so I threw every piece of camping gear I could see in the garage into the car in five minutes flat. There was much laughter at the amount of gear I brought, but hey, when you’re on a schedule that doesn’t even permit you to eat dinner, spending time to weed out unnecessary camping gear is a low priority.
The campground was great. Somehow, even though you could see other campers and yurts around we were all shocked at how quiet it was. After a few drinks and much speculation, we decided it must be the soft bark of the sequoia trees themselves. The adjacent meadow was absolutely breathtaking, bright green against the blue sky with a spring-fed stream.
Redwood Meadow, right next to the campground
I didn’t have enough time to properly prepare, but thankfully Maryann had us well covered in the food department. Usually she makes a three bean, one meat chili, but this time she flipped it around and did three meats and one bean. And it was damn good! The addition of leftover baby back rib meat from Max City BBQ was definitely the highlight. I like to think of chili as the casserole of dutch oven cooking. Sometimes the more you throw in there the better it gets!
Redwood Meadow Campground is across the street from the Trail of 100 Giants in Long Meadow Grove. It’s an easy paved trail that leisurely meanders through the woods looping back on itself a few times for a total of about 1.3 miles. Along the way you’ll find gems like the goose pen tree, a tree with a small slit on one side that you can actually climb inside of to peek out a hole in the other side, and two fallen giants that people have taken to climbing all over.
Two of the 100 giants
We went for a solid wander through the woods in the afternoon with no trail and no plan. It was glorious, unteathered time that I hadn’t been able to have in so long. Found nestled in the shade of the sequoia trees like hidden treasures were dogwoods in full bloom.
Dogwoods blooming among the sequoias
For dinner that night we made campfire pizza (The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook, pages 55-58). Breakfast was eggs bruschetta (The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook, page 68), and Maryann baked cupcakes in the dutch oven for a special birthday treat!
Super special rockstar thanks to Arny and Maryann. You guys are the absolute best.
Redwood Meadow is a gem of a campground. With the Trail of a Hundred Giants across the way (a tree lover’s delight) and fishing and hiking opportunities nearby, what’s not to love!
So keep on getting out and exploring! There’s still a lot of summer left.
Lindsey, Denise and Gail