Wild Turkeys in Pescadero Creek/Memorial County Park

Since tomorrow is our national celebration of the great taste of turkey I thought I’d take just a moment to relate a silly turkey story.

In July of this year I took 2 of my kids on their first actual backpacking trip. The kids are 10 and 9 so they’re not really ready to carry a heavy load nor can they trek for long distances. They each carried around 6-8 lbs of gear, which included their packs. They wear sneakers when hiking because they change shoe sizes so quickly it doesn’t really make sense to buy boots. So it was important to pick the route with care.

My first inclination was to go to the trail camp in Portola Redwoods State Park. The Slate Creek Trail Camp can be accessed by a fairly easy 2.5 mile hike and it has trash cans and a pit toilet. That would have been just about perfect except that a big ole redwood tree came down and removed two of the campsites so we weren’t able to get a reservation there.

My second choice was Pescadero Creek County Park. There are two trail camps in this park, one close to Portola Redwoods State Park and one close to Memorial County Park. Reservations for both can be made at the ranger kiosk at the entrance to Memorial County Park. We hit the kiosk a couple hours before  sundown on a Saturday night and got a reservation with no problems. We drove one mile from the Memorial Park entrance to Wurr Road and parked at the end of Old Haul Road. From there it was a lovely 2.5 mile hike to the trail camp where we found 8 nice campsites under a mixture of oaks and redwoods, about half the sites occupied. The campsites all had firepits and there was a pit toilet and trash collection for the camp. Water was filtered from the creek about a half mile away.

We set up our camp, ate Subway sandwiches and freeze dried ice cream sandwiches and settled in for the night. The next day was oatmeal, Clif Bars, and dried fruit, followed by a 3 mile hike out (we took the scenic route) back to the car. It was the perfect introductory backpack trip, the only downside was the jerks in the nearby campsite smoking dope and drinking beer all night long, the place reeked of pot and they were very loud.

But here’s the turkey connection. While we were getting our gear together Saturday night we saw a group of 6-8 wild turkeys crossing Wurr Road. We saw the same or similar group the next day. In October when we were car-camping in Memorial Park we saw a group of larger turkeys come wandering through the campground despite the presence of 30-50 people nearby. So if you’re looking for wild turkeys to add to your enjoyment of Thanksgiving, you could do worse than to go for a hike along Old Haul Road this weekend, you’ve got a good chance of spotting a few.

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