Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park: Annual Church Camping Trip

It's time to share my annual church camping photos here. If you are interested in last year's, the post is here.

This year the campsite chosen was SUGARLOAF RIDGE STATE PARK located in Kenwood, CA - which is right in the heart of the beautiful Sonoma Valley wine region. I have never heard of this park until this time. The difference with this trip and the previous camping trips is that there was an observatory inside the park and that we had been also booked for a group tour with the observatory. Exciting isn't it?

So we camped on July 22-24. I had some trepidations because heat up to 100F was expected throughout the weekend. We knew for a fact that one of those days, the heat did reach 100F. I thought that I would skip a hike and just go for a wine tasting on one of those hot days. Well, I did manage to get a hike on a trail that looped about 3-4 miles, I'm not sure, but despite going early in the day the sun was still bearing down on us. It was just HOT. The reward for our hike was all the wild blackberries and cherries we could reach and eat.

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My home for the weekend.

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The breakfast crew. The structure in the back is the observatory.

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Pancakes.

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And scrambled eggs.

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Stopped to pick wild blackberries on both sides of the bridge.

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Nearby we spotted a tree full of fruits (cherries).

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The meadow.

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Pebbled path.

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I love this tree.

Once we got back to the car, we drove straight to town or anywhere nearby where we can have a little wine tasting. Our first stop was at a winery that is beautiful, but charges $20 per tasting. We did not want to pay for tasting; there are free tastings to be had, so we googled it. Likewise, lunch first was on our mind. Don't want to taste with an empty stomach.

About 10 miles away we stopped at El Brinquito, a grocery store that also sells all the Mexican goodies you crave. They have a bbq setup in the parking lot and a lady makes tortillas in front of the store. We all had 2 tacos each ($1.75 per).

We drove about 20 minutes to reach the beautiful Jacuzzi Winery for free tasting. Upon arrival, the tasting rooms (wine and olive oil/balsamic vinegar) were packed, so we chose to explore the building and the grounds. When we returned from our exploration, we saw that we could easily conduct our tasting. We had a flight of 5 wines to taste and in the end the husband and I bought a bottle, while the couple we went with picked up two.

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Awesome no-frills tacos.

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Back in the campgrounds, while the cooks grilled chicken, the kids played pickup soccer and the adults chatted lazily. It was still hot. At night, we had a wonderful, fascinating, and educational tour at the ROBERT FERGUSON OBSERVATORY. They gave us a brief lecture on Astronomy 101 and were available for questions. We looked through two telescopes and got to see stars, clusters, nebula and Saturn with its rings, and many more. It would be my first time to see through a telescope and get a lecture from those who know about these things. We were able to see the Milky Way through the naked eyes. Unfortunately, there were no photos taken during all these. I was so engrossed that I did not think about photography.

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We were told that we were the first church group to book a night sky class of sort and that we seem to be a fun, diverse group.

Since this was a church camping, we had to have a service on Sunday.

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And we don't leave without a group shot.

By the way, on Saturday night, the moon rose behind the hill somewhere around the 10-11 pm and it was so beautiful.

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Another summer, another camping trip in the books.

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16 comments:

  1. The annual church camping in SUGARLOAF RIDGE STATE PARK sounds a beautiful event! Thanks for all those beautiful photos, principally the gorgeous moon rose behind the hill.

    Thanks so much for you sweet words to me on my post Outside of time. :)

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  2. That pancake maker had good equipment to crank out lots of pancakes to go with the scrambled eggs.
    A Sunday service out in nature would be a great setting.

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  3. Wow, what a great camp out. Lots of good food and fun activities. I don't know how you stood the heat though.

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  4. I love the moon shot with the tree silhouette. Really nice capture!! Those tacos look great, too.

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  5. What a wonderful experience you all have to look forward to each year. Your collection of pictures from the gathering are wonderful. It makes me feel as if I was actually there with you. Everyone is obviously is having a WONDERFUL time. Thanks so much for sharing. genie

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  6. All so beautiful: great views, nice people.

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  7. Beautiful post and clicks.
    Greetings.

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  8. Hello, the camping and wine tasting sounds like a fun time. I love the last moon photo. Great collection of images. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  9. mmm the tacos look so yummy but it's the cherries that have caught my eye. They are only available in Summer here around Christmas time and they are always so darn expensive.

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  10. Wonderful series of images.

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  11. It looked like you had perfect skies for your weekend camp which looked like a lot of fun.

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  12. It looks like a fun time in a beautiful spot.

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  13. I can see by the faces that there was a lot of fun going on. Your sky was beautiful for your outing.

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  14. What a fabulous memory, Marie, even if a bit too hot for my liking. However, sometimes the heat can be worth it for all the experiences you can have (like a couple of our days in Malta!). So glad you shared this. You really ARE a diverse group, giving testament to the ability for "all people" to get along!

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  15. Would you know how it got its name? I'm reminded of Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio that looks like a loaf of bread from afar.

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