The Edmonds gang spent months in anticipation for our camping trip to Taylor Creek and the time had finally arrived! Kevin’s family has been camping at this spot for nearly 30 years (!) and this was my third trip to TC. The last time the whole gang went camping together was at Granite Creek in 2009 (just a couple of months after moving to SF and a few weeks after adopting Lola, see the post here) and the last time we as a family were at TC was in 2007 so it was definitely time for another camping trip!
This campsite is about as rustic as you can get: no running water (except for the spring up the road), no cell phone service, and no toilets (not even an outhouse). But it’s got everything else that other campsites are missing: it’s quiet (rarely do we spot other campers when we’re there), there are unobstructed starry nights, we’ve got a private creek and private hiking trails. And that’s why the family keeps coming back after all these years.
Kevin, Lola and I woke up earlyearlyearly and got on the road at 7:30am.
Lots of fog over the Oakland Hills to greet us
Beautiful views of countryside and clear skies (somewhere off of Hot Springs Road)
Kevin and Lola in the car
We passed a ton of cows on the drive up the mountain…
Mama cows and their babies
Lots of meadows–I think this one was aptly named “Big Meadow” (so creative, I know)
We arrived (9 hours later!) and were sad to find out that the family’s favorite spot was already taken. 🙁
We drove up the road a bit and found another spot that wasn’t as good but we were pleasantly surprised that it worked out as well as it did. Kevin, Lola and I held down the fort for a couple of hours before the next group arrived.
We read a couple of short stories to each other with Lola listening in
The swimming hole right next to our campsite…perfection!
The next group to arrive was George, Dorothy, Judith, Joshua and Katelyn and it was just us until the third group arrived on Friday. Our first evening was mostly just setting up camp, eating hamburgers and hot dogs (and veggie burgers/veggie skewers for the vegetarian in the group!) and hanging out around the campfire.
Kevin and George with the bonfire
The group woke up bright and early for another fun day of camping. Except for this little girl who did not want to get up…
Lola, snuggled up
We were finally able to encourage the tired pup to get up and get the day started!
First thing on the to-do list? Gather fire wood. George, Kevin, Joshua and Lola were in charge of that item (thank you guys!)
Alley oop Lola!
While the muchachos and Lola went to get fire wood, the rest of us muchachas got dressed for some creek time…
Katelyn and her genius innertube
Dorothy and Judith hanging out by the creek
After the guys got back with the firewood it was creek time for them too!
Lola’s favorite thing to do was hop/jump/leap across the creek to fetch her ball (oh yeah, and shake and get all of us sitting on the bank wet too)
Kevin, George and Katelyn (the brave ones) in for a dip
After some time by the creek it was time for lunch and time to put up the hammocks! Kevin and I purchased these hammocks in Nicaragua in 2004 and had yet to use them so it was about time!
Can’t get much more relaxing than this
Kevin squished into the seat hammock (and his butt was about 1.5 inches above the ground, haha)
Dorothy and Kevin relaxing in the shade
Lola couldn’t wait to test out the hammock either, haha
Lola guarding our campsite (her favorite place to be: the kitchen)
Katelyn keeping cool in the shade
Another bright and early morning! After breakfast (breakfast burritos, mmm!) we went for a short hike to another swimming hole down the creek.
Pine cones covering the ground
George, Kevin and Lola trying to find us a nice spot to sit and relax
Lola again loved jumping over the creek to catch her ball. We got her in the creek for a bit too, here she is jumping to catch a ball.
Can’t get enough of these rock formations, trees and sky views
Lola looking back at Joshua and Kevin
My favorite photo of the camping trip! Lola in the foreground, Joshua and Kevin in the background.
Can you spot Lola?
Back to the campsite to wait for our third group to arrive (Sarah and Rob!) We spent the time eating lunch and putting reading glasses on Lola (just what any normal family would do, right? You can blame Katelyn for this one, haha)
Lola, the librarian
We were expecting them mid-day so when they hadn’t arrived by mid-afternoon we started getting worried and sent out a search party. Ten minutes later the search party spotted their car and back to the campsite they went.
Just a little after they arrived the group got dressed and took a 20 minute hike to what the family calls “Flat Rock”–a really awesome spot where the creek has a waterfall and it flows down huge, flat rocks making great spots for sitting and relaxing.
The girls: Katelyn, Sarah, Judith, Dorothy and me
Tall rocks and bright blue skies
Sarah and Rob
Lola biting the mini rapids
Katelyn and Josh building a damn, Lola biting the rapids
Kevin, George and Joshua decided to hike up the mountain a bit while the rest of our group made our way back to the campsite. Here are some photos that Kevin took on the hike…
The view of Church Dome (where we’d be hiking to the following day, yikes!)
I love this miniaturized (is that a word?) photo that Kevin took
Lola with her hiking backpack
After the two hikes and three swimming holes that day Lola was pooped!
Proof of above statement
What makes a good evening while camping? Talking around the campfire of course…
George and Sarah
Dorothy and Kevin
Another early morning camping (our last full day, waah!)
Kevin putting on his shoes, enjoying the view out our tent
After breakfast the group packed into two of the cars and made our way upupup the road to the trail head for our hike to Church Dome.
Joshua, Sarah, Kevin, Rob and Lola sizing up Church Dome
Lots and lots of water breaks…
My cute little hiking husband
Sarah and Rob
Family photo! Me, Kevin and Lola
What a view!
Beautiful flowers in between rocks
Kevin and Lola looking out onto the meadows and forest
After hours of hiking upupup we finally made it! Time for lunch.
Group shot at lunch (thanks Sarah!)
While half of the group was satisfied with the hike and ready to make our way back down, the other half didn’t get quite enough and wanted to push on a little farther. Can you guess what group I was in? 😉
While Judith, Dorothy, Katelyn, Lola and I stayed back to take a short nap, the rest of the group made their way up to the top of Church Dome.
Lola digging a hole (first time I’d ever seen her do that!)
She was trying to get to the cooler soil for her nap, so adorable.
From our spot down below we could see a few ants walking at the top of Church Dome–they looked a lot like the rest of our family (click the photo to zoom in; Sarah, Rob and George on the left, Kevin and Josh on the right).
Once the other part of the group met up with us it was time to make our descent off the mountain. But first…a group photo!
Although the hike down was much faster, it wasn’t necessarily any easier (let’s just say that a few butts slid down the rocks).
Lola was pretty exhausted too. I had never seen her so tired before! Every few hundred feet she’d make her way to a shady spot and lay down. Poor girl!
Lola’s 198th break
So Kevin, being the great dog dad that he is, decided to help our little girl out by giving her a piggy back ride!
She only stayed on for about 10 minutes but I think it helped the tired pup out a lot
View of Church Dome…I can’t believe that just a couple of hours before we were on that peak!
Happy (and tired and sore) hiker Lisa
Not five minutes after backing George’s truck up on the road his back tires got stuck in the soft dirt. D’oh!
The group trying to get the truck out by digging holes and putting in big rocks behind the tires.
When that didn’t work, George had the whole group (minus me and Lola) pile in the back of the truck to weigh it down and hopefully get the tires to grip the dirt to move on out. That didn’t work either! So the last resort was hooking Rob’s Ford Escape SUV up to the front of George’s truck and with luck we were able to pull the truck out of the dirt! None of us could believe that the little Escape could pull out such a huge truck but hallelujah it worked!
No one can say that we didn’t deserve a nice dip in the creek by the time we got back to the campsite and that’s exactly what we did. We can’t say that the creek wasn’t any cleaner after we got out, but at least we were. 🙂
Dinner was massive burritos and dessert was peach/blueberry cobbler (well-deserved after our long day of hiking!)
Judith serving up the cobbler…yum!!
Our last sunset
And we spent our last evening around the campfire enjoying each other’s company…
Joshua, Katelyn and Judith
Joshua, bright fire, and grey skies
Writing with light in the dark–that’s me writing out “Taylor Creek” using a flashlight (I was writing in cursive backwards while Kevin took the photo, see our “Earth Hour” post with other photos like this here)
The rain finally decided to make its full appearance on Sunday morning as we were packing all our stuff up. Although it didn’t make for a very pleasant last morning (especially since we were trying to keep all our junk dry while packing it up) I’m just happy it otherwise stayed dry the whole week!
On the drive home…until next time Taylor Creek!