This past weekend, Kelly and I used the holiday weekend as an opportunity to put some miles on the Airstream and escape to Mt Madonna Count Park. Located about two hours south of HMB and nestled in the midst of a forest of Redwoods, the park seemed like a must visit spot.
Knowing the holiday weekend would likely draw big crowds, we decided to arrive Thursday afternoon in hopes of enjoying some quiet … a bit of calm prior to the storm’s arrival.
Our sweet corner spot #104
When booking the reservation, I tried to pick a spot that looked to be the most private. Often, campground reservation systems can be misleading, making it difficult to know what type of site to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised upon arrival. Our spot was very private, which coupled with my not so welcoming placement of the truck, did a fantastic job of completing the “please do not disturb” vibe we were looking to passive-aggressively establish.
A 3,688 acre county park, Mt Madonna is dominated by the giant redwood trees typical of the Santa Cruz Mountain range. On an otherwise hot and sunny Labor day weekend, the tree canopy provided nearly 100% shade coverage which kept temperatures cool and the outside lounge time quotient high.
Internet connectivity was a bust, but I did ok with limited over the air TV reception … the onset of college football being an added bonus.
Big trees at the campsite
Lilly on the move
The park contains miles and miles of shaded, rolling terrain – perfect for long dog walks. The trails are well maintained and provided loads of exploration opportunities.
Kelly also tried to find time for catching-up on yoga, but Lilly had other ideas.
During one of our walks, we visited the ruins of the summer home of Henry Miller, one of the largest cattle barons in California history. Born in Germany, Miller immigrated to New York in 1846 (during his 20’s) with only $6. By 1858 Miller had migrated to San Francisco and built a thriving butcher business. Shortly thereafter, Miller and his business partner shifted emphasis from meat products to cattle raising, and soon became the largest cattle rancher in California and one of the largest landowners in the United States – owning 1.4 million acres and controlling nearly 22,000 square miles of cattle and farm land in California, Nevada, and Oregon. At the time of his death, Miller was worth an estimated $40 Million.
Remains of the ballroom
Wandering the remains, I had a sense of familiarity – something about this place felt odd. I was convinced that Kelly and I had been to this park before, but I couldn’t remember a details. Initially, Kelly thought I would cuckoo but I insisted that we’d been here previously. Once back at the camper I checked my email archives and confirmed what I had suspected … we’d been there in April 2012 in our previous camper, only three sites down (#101).
I’m still not sure how it was we didn’t immediately recall the previous visit. But memories of this visit (and the accompanying documentation) should last for a while. Mt Madonna is a great park close to HMB and I’m sure we’ll be back.