Quite Quiet: Steep Ravine, California
Northern California is an area where you have to plan your camping trips 6 months in advance because the sites sell out the second they are posted.
I take a weird comfort in this: 1. Everyone wants to get outside. 2. The anticipation of a trip 6 months out makes even the smallest adventure seem bigger.
I managed to grab one of the 9 Steep Ravine cabins on a Saturday night. Having a cabin meant I only had to bring the absolute essentials: a sleeping bag & sleeping pad, my hiking shoes, a meal, a book, and a bottle of wine.
The drive to Steep Ravine is tedious -- a 20-mile drive from San Francisco that takes well over an hour because of all the hairpin turns along the coast. But once you get through the padlocked gate, the nausea fades and you're surrounded with nothing but the sounds of the ocean cracking against the rocks.
Fields of wild calla lilies along the bluffs.
Sunset through the cabin's panoramic window.
Smell of wood burning and sounds of a crackling stove.