Mikael Kennedy and I spent a week in November field testing Woolpower baselayers as we camped our way up the California coast.
Pt. 3: Steep Ravine State Park, CA
After a quick stop in the Mission for a burrito and a failed attempt at visiting our friend, Obi, we drove over the Golden Gate bridge and up the Panoramic Highway to the Mt. Tam State Park headquarters. We paid for our Steep Ravine permit and met the world’s most wonderful park ranger, a beautiful 50-ish year old woman with thick white hair and a smile that barely fit in her small office. I told her how fantastic she was, then hopped back in the car and headed for the ocean.
We drove down into Stinson, stopping at the grocery store for firewood, beer and complimentary packets of mustard for the Tofu Pups we had bought earlier in the day. (Yeah, Yeah, I know. Tofu Pups. I love them, what can I say?) The gate to the park is a quick drive down Highway 1 and I opened it with a combination that the lovely park ranger had written on a small piece of paper. We parked and carried our packs down to camp.
If you’ve never camped (or stayed in one of the cabins) at Steep Ravine, then you really need to get your ass there. Whether you live in San Francisco or you’re just visiting for a few days, rent/steal a car and drive north. I hate my friends in Oakland/San Francisco for having such easy access to the California wild, but this place really epitomizes what it means to live in the Bay Area. I can’t think of a more beautiful “car camping” experience in the United States within an hour drive of a big city.
This was my first time at Steep Ravine in the autumn months, so it was nice to see most of the tent sites empty. Sure, the site next to ours was occupied by a seemingly harmless Burner couple who mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night, but that’s another story for another time. I tried to read while the light was hanging on for dear life, but I was too distracted by the sound of the waves below the cliff, so o I stared at the cover of my book, pretending to read while Mikael started a fire.
The night was spent drinking Modelo and making dinner, keeping warm in our Woolpower as we talked about plans for the rest of the week. We went to bed early – not surprising when the sun goes down at 5 – and slept like zombies as a light rain went in and out over our tents.
When we woke up, we walked down to a misty beach just in time to see the sun crack through the clouds. I hopped around on the rocks like a school child while Mikael snapped photos from above. We ate the rest of our Big Sur persimmons on a cliff, then packed up our wet campsite and headed up Highway 1 to walk the Matt Davis Trail.
Things are always better when the ocean is nearby.
Photos by Mikael Kennedy
Ullfrotté Original is the material developed by Woolpower AB in Östersund in the early 1970’s in collaboration with the Swedish military, scientists, doctors and survival experts. The textile is highly wear resistant and consists of fine Merino wool, polyamide/polyester and air.
The material is knit so that one side is smooth, and the other has terry loops. The lofty terry loops, in combination with the crimp in the wool fibers, creates a knitwear capable of trapping a lot of air. Up to 80% of the material actually consists of air, which means that the material has an excellent capacity to trap body heat. The more air you can keep still around the body, the more heat you can retain.
The company employs about 70 people and the entire production is in Östersund, in the northern part of Sweden. Approximately 80% of the sales are exported to about 25 countries all over the world.