Thursday, September 10, 2009


Just back from a few days of camping among the giant sentries of California: the coastal redwood trees in Big Basin State Park, just north of Santa Cruz. I have fond memories of Big Basin from my childhood—in particular I remember a hike that some friends and I took across a fallen redwood tree that acted as a bridge, up a switchback path, and across rock pools to where we found a sunny perch high above the tree tips. This week's trip was really no different in terms of loveliness, and I have to say I feel really wonderful and new. It will probably last a week.

This was the first time we’ve been camping in several years, and the first with the whippersnapper. We had a great camp site--good thing too since I made us go back three times to the park reservation headquarters before we settled on it (oh, but it was the best one). Our site was nestled between four absolutely massive redwood trees, two of which had burned and created a hollow to walk in (which we didn’t, because they were probably toilets).

Our camp site, and indeed perhaps all of Big Basin, was a favorite with Steller’s blue jays. These birds are generously described in park literature as “gregarious” but a more accurate term would start with A and end with Holes because these birds were bold and obnoxious. The whippersnapper enjoyed shouting “boom!” at them to make them go away if they came too near, which they frequently did. The only thing nice about these pests was their pretty blue feathers. They were also the first to start screeching in the dawn chorus, which we were awake for because the whippersnapper woke up well before light. The little mucker looks nice enough in the picture above, but it's not. No, it's not.

Lounging in a chair and looking up at the sunlight filtering through the trees yesterday, I finally thought of the title for the new novel I’m working on, which I hadn’t been able to do so far, so that was really nice. It came to me, just like that. And that’s the title: Just Like That. I promise it makes more sense once you hear what it’s about.

The whippersnapper also made a friend: a little girl about two years old was interested in him (and who wouldn't be? it's not every little boy who shouts "boom!" at blue jays) as she and her mother came by our site on the way to the bathroom. I said “Hi, what’s your name?” to the little girl.

Fast as shot, the whippersnapper said, “Honk Konk.”

I said, “What? That’s not her name. You can't name her.”

But he only nodded mysteriously and stuck to his guns that her name was Honk Konk. And you know, it has a certain ring to it. The whippersnapper has a fondness for giving things strange but hugely original names. He named his two favorite action figures Pom Pom and Macock. And he says that if he ever has a little brother, he would prefer his name to be Nyah-huh. Anyway, Honk Konk and her mother came by every day to say hi. It was nice.

Finally, this post would not be complete without mentioning The Kitchen. The Kitchen is a massive camping gadget that the husband ordered online from Cabela’s. When it got here, I was appalled because it took UP OUR WHOLE LIVING ROOM. That being said, it’s kind of cool: it has a sink and drain, three counters, lantern hooks, a pantry, a spice rack, and all folds up into a case about the size of a card table (but about the width of three card tables). In the picture at right, the center counter is covering the sink. I did suggest that perhaps the husband might have gotten a smaller version, but he said that people would be stopping by the campsite to complement him us on such a wonderful and magnificent camping kitchen. I bet him that if no one did, he would have to massage my feet. He agreed.

Well, listen. It really was the most awesome kitchen and didn’t look nearly as big as it had in our living room, and was incredibly useful as it turned out. And, yes, two parties of admirers stopped to take a look at it and I did not win my foot massage. On the flipside, the husband forgot to name what he would win, so I was off scott-free.


coffeelvnmom said...

Begin with A and end in Holes! Perfect! LOL! Glad you had a good time. It looks beautiful. I don't envy whoever has to clean the kitchen now though. And you lost a bet and didn't get punished for it...isn't that the best thing ever? Love the new title BTW.

Sierra Godfrey said...

The Kitchen was actually easy to clean! Just wipe the surfaces down. Actually...I have to say, it was great and I highly recommend.

Anonymous said...

Sierra, Love this story. I wish we would camp someday. Your cousin is not a big fan of camping. Brennen named kids when he was a whippersnapper as well. While playing at Carls Jr. one day he played with twin boys that he named "Guitar" and "Booger Boy". these boys...what shall we do with them?

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