Posted by: charityliz | August 10, 2011

Vaca. Part II

What is about 7 hours north of San Francisco (but still in CA), as breathtaking as Lake Tahoe, and so removed  that cell phones become completely useless?

Smith River, baby!!!

pictures don't do this place justice

I finally checked this especially gorgeous destination off my bucket list, as I traveled up the Northern coast of California for the second half of my vacation last week—to a place I’ve dreamed of going ever since I first heard my old roomie, Heather, reminisce about all the summers she spent splashing around in “the most beautiful river in the world”.

And it didn’t disappoint.  Being a native Californian, I’m actually surprised that I never even heard of the Smith River until a couple years ago!   I suppose, the road trip was long enough to drive into another state, so it’s a bit off my radar—but how is it that more people don’t know about this amazing place??

The Smith is characterized by crystal clear water—you could see as far as the water was deep (probably 50-60 feet in some places) with beautiful rock bottom, lots of rocks to jump from, and amazing Redwood forests lining the shores of the river, spotted with little sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathing.  It was seriously one of the most serene and relaxing mini vacations I’ve had in years.

Random Highlights:

1. Arriving the first evening and being so captured by the Smith that I dove in fully clothed. (Heather, I love that you bring out the spontaneous playful in me.)

2. SUP’n on the Smith…and sharing the SUP boards with friends. 

3.  Discovering Jason’s American Queen playlist on the drive up–who knew Techno/Electronic music could be so good?!  (I still want a copy, Jason!)

4.  Drive Thru Redwood Tree (checking off another random thing on my bucket list)

5. Whale sighting on the Klamath River (on our way home).  It was crazy!  I didn’t even know that whales swim up rivers, but I have pictures to prove it!

And then there was the fun hike through the redwoods, breathtaking stars at night, chillin’ on the river during the day and lots of hangin’ out in the cabin with good food and drink —no further entertainment needed. Even the road trip was incredibly relaxing and beautiful.

Sigh.  Thank you, God, for a few days of simple and beautiful…and for friends that make even the simple stuff seem fun.

finally enjoying the Smith River together!


happy 🙂


feeling small in such a majestic place


Cali coast from the road

Fact: the Mazda3 has no problem driving through a redwood!

whale in the Klamath River!!



  1. So pretty! I love that there was a whale in the river!!! 🙂 Have you been to the Russian River? We went a couple weeks ago… it was pretty gorgeous, too! 🙂

    • Haven’t been to the Russian River yet…but I’ve heard that’s another beauty! Hope you guys had fun! Family vaca?

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