Richard Sheppard: Stillwater Cove Campground
My wife and I hadn’t camped in 13 years, but last weekend, accompanied by good friends Jennifer and Matthew, we decided to give it a go. We drove west from Healdsburg to Highway 1, then took a right, heading up the rocky Northern California coast to Stillwater Cove. Our campsite sat nestled among ancient redwood trees, and close enough to the beach to hear the ocean breeze whistling through the treetops.
After pitching camp and setting up the coolers, we hit the well-groomed hiking trails, under a towering cavern of sequoia. After crossing a few rustic wooden bridges, we followed a creek populated with ferns and wildflowers out to the ocean at Stillwater Cove. Two black rubber boats lay beached on the sand, glistening in the sunshine like sea otters. A group of divers unloaded abalone from their boats.
The four of us sat quietly on the beach, drinking in the ocean view. Pelicans flapped overhead, then swooped close to the ocean looking for fish. With bright sun on my face, I tried to capture in watercolor the delicate hues of the windblown landscape while my companions napped in the afternoon sun.
Back at camp, we nibbled on Humboldt Fog goat cheese, kalamata olives and slices of juicy peaches while preparing a dinner of Greek tomato salad, and grilled chicken/vegetable kabobs. Lagunitas IPA beers were passed around the blazing campfire, where we skewered marshmallows to make s’mores.
As night fell, we formed a semi circle around the fire and told ghost stories until my wife said she was getting the creeps. She then threw a napkin into the fire and I watched as the flames consumed it. The remaining charred paper, lifted by the heat of the flame, drifted like a spirit into the darkness.
For more about Richard Sheppard, visit his blog, “Artist on the Road.”