tomales bay

Not a land of fresh tamales…though, would that be heaven?


This Fourth of July, as we have the last 3 years (see here, here, and here), we went on a camping trip. This time to Northern California with our adventure guide, Hank. I never know quite what I’m getting myself into, and we almost always have a near death experience, but somehow I still find myself back on the kayak/boulder pits/death hikes. Maybe I’m getting used to it, or maybe this past weekend was an anomaly, but I conquered this adventure with relative ease. My bummed knee and back (ugh, I’m falling apart) make hiking troublesome, but kayaking and sleeping on the beach? I can do that.

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No trip is ever complete without a few bumps in the road (quite literally). On our drive up there, braking downhill started to shake the whole car. We’d been on the road since 5am, and mechanics don’t open until at least 8 or 9, so we pushed through. We ended up not having any more issues, but after several bathroom and food breaks and an essential stop to get pie, we didn’t make it to the kayak rentals til 3pm. Because of high winds, they were no longer letting kayaks out. This put a huge damper on our plans because the only way for us to get to our campsite was to kayak to it. On Fourth of July weekend, our other camping options were meager at best. One site we checked out was basically an amusement park. The other – a parking lot. We decided on the parking lot since at least it was next to the water. After a long day in the car, I was OK with not doing any physical activity and instead eating (my favorite) and getting to bed early.

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The next morning we woke up bright and early (not by choice) to the screaming clam fishers who were up at the crack of dawn. Not to worry, we got coffee in our system, ate breakfast tacos, and headed to launch our kayaks. The sun came out, and kayaking close to the coast was so beautiful. We went about 7 miles before finding a secluded beach, where we were the only campers. I took a 100 hour nap on the beach after deciding the water was too freezing to snorkel (even with a wet suit). We enjoyed hot chocolate and pie and fireworks in the distance…and the tide crept dangerously close.





We were warned to pitch our tents very high to avoid the tide. After some detective work analyzing the seaweed line, we figured we’d have about 4 feet of sand between our tents and the ocean when the high tide rose at midnight. We risked it, and sure enough, though it sounded like we were in the middle of the ocean, the water didn’t quite reach our tent door. But, because it flowed down a sand bank and around us, we were quite literally surrounded by water.

Oh, and I can’t forget that during the middle of the night my husband screamed because he thought an animal was on my head. Never fear, it was instead crawling on my backpack outside the tent and because of depth perception, that’s what he saw. GROSS.

I was only mildly completely freaked out enough to have trouble falling back asleep and was very hesitant to have to get up during the night to use the restroom (which, by the way, had to be right next to our tents because again…surrounded by water).



Our last morning we packed up to head back to the mainland. We had a lunch reservation to make, so we couldn’t take as much time. That didn’t stop me from spotting a star fish and sting ray swim by our kayak, which was super cool. Too bad we couldn’t have stopped then to snorkel.


We made it back! I tried raw oysters for the first time. Verdict: not a fan. Tastes like I’m eating slimy saltwater. Though the BBQ oysters and the charcuterie board hit the spot. And lucky for us, we didn’t hit holiday traffic on the way home (WHAT).

Photos taken on my phone or GoPro and edited with VSCO app.

P.S. I found a tick in my head on the drive back. So you know, THERE’S THAT.

P.P.S. It can’t all be sunshine and rainbows.

-wonderland sam

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actress/texan kickin' it in los angeles. always searching for my next pizza. cia agent in another life.

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