Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Costanoa KOA

 We pulled into the Santa Cruz North/ Costanoa KOA campground in the late afternoon. The host was very friendly and welcoming. We drove over to our site and were happy to see that the campground was not very crowded at all. We had a few neighbors, but mostly empty spots near us. We could see the ocean (but it was across the highway). The park had lots of grass (with well marked pet areas and bags for clean-up) and was very clean and well-maintained. We were very pleasantly surprised!
RV Park Entrance 

Interior RV Spaces
View of the ocean from right behind our spot
There were spots designated for RV's (pull through and back in) and tent sites as well. There were also well-marked doggy areas and lots of grass for kids to play in. The park offers free Wi-fi. Normally we don't really use technology very much while out on these trips, but this time, the wi-fi was greatly appreciated in order to coordinate the remainder of our travel reservations. The signal was pretty weak by our site, but we took a walk to the campground store and it worked perfectly there. They also provide a phone in case your cellphone signal won't work in the park (highly likely).

I have to say that the campground store was amazing! They had tons of fresh and organic foods and snacks, and very cool toys for the kids. These were some of the types of toys offered: Recycling green truck plus your typical beach toys, towels and clothes. We didn't try out the restaurant while we were there, but it sure smelled good.

Well, it was almost time to make dinner, but we all felt the need to stretch our legs, so we decided to go on a "short" walk. We set out to see the stables, but since there were no horses there, our oldest daughter asked to walk to the beach. We told her we could walk towards the beach, but probably wouldn't reach the water as it looked to be quite some distance. She was thrilled with that, and we set off.
Only drawback to the hike was the need to cross Highway 1. We were just very careful and waited for a huge gap in traffic. 
Once across the road, the kids loved the hike. It was a very unique mix of tall grasses and vegetation, sand dunes and built up dock-like paths made of wood. The landscape was great for us, as it was flat enough to allow the kids to run ahead of us and we could still see them.
They had the best time exploring. And we loved watching them have so much fun!
I love these little ragamuffins!
We kept thinking the kids would get tired or hungry, or ask to be carried, or eat, but no....they just kept on running. They were determined to get to that beach!
And sure enough, they made it! 
Those determined little guys made it from our campground all the way to the beach, and back again.
I couldn't have been prouder of our little hikers. 
And we were rewarded with the most amazing gem of a beach at the end of our hike. Just look at these views...
Our fearless leader was so proud of her accomplishment. She was not giving up until we all made it to the water!
The beach was gorgeous with windblown sand, tufty grasses and crashing waves. We found one outcropping of rocks with amazing tide pools in it. Since exploring tide pools is one of our favorite past times now, we all had so much fun looking at the little creatures.

Petting sea anemones

The clarity of the pools was amazing. This was taken through several inches of water, and the sea creatures look crystal clear!
Since we had no changes of clothes, the little guy had to be saved from his own eagerness several times!
Beautiful sea star!

Four explorers soak in the gorgeous view before heading back. I soak in the view of the four people I love most, having a fantastic time. I love this picture. I love my sweet family. I miss vacation. sigh. Anyway...
 As you can tell by my countless photos, I just couldn't get enough of this beautiful, rugged, natural landscape.
The water reminded me of an oil painting. Waves so rough, they looked like thick layers of paint on canvas. 
Who doesn't love a sandy, grassy, beach shot? Obviously not me, as I had about a million of these. 
As we reluctantly left the shore (only to make sure we got back to camp before dark) and began our walk back to our home away from home, I was so incredibly happy. Happy to have three healthy, active little kiddos and an amazing husband. Happy to be able to see the beauty of nature, and still be in awe of it after all of these years of exploring. Happy that we got a chance to experience this place, this beach that we had never planned to stay at. So content with life, and the gifts that I have in my life, and so present in the moment with my family. If only I could feel this way all of the time. But unfortunately, these amazing moments and memories eventually fade. So I try to capture them in photos, and in words, and most definitely in my heart.

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