Sleepy Steep Ravine

It is the most powerful place we know, where the ocean meets the shore.
— Dr. Pamela Autrey, my mother

Steep Ravine at sunrise

Steep Ravine is perched on the Pacific Ocean, north of San Francisco. Well preserved cabins with wood burning fireplaces dapple flowered inclines. Raucous waves crash below and coastal scrub forests maintain a protective perimeter.

My first visit to Steep Ravine took place in January for the Juniper Ridge Winter Redwood harvest. Each year the wildcrafting team returns here to set up base camp, hike out and collect test plants for a Field Lab perfume.

Indigo dyed cloth from home for shade

There is a wilderness hike and ecology lesson with Juniper Ridge founder, Hall.  Each hiker builds their own scent experiment using a small cotton sack and native plants on their trail. The scent notes build onto one another and each bag holds its own beauty.

I set up a dye station using Toyon and Coastal Sage I harvested that morning. Raw silk bandanas that I sewed and mordanted in advance of the trip are the canvas. They accept color beautifully and are sturdier for camping accessories. While everyone was hiking, I dip dyed their bandanas in the sage bath gleaning a bright goldenrod and sent wafts of sweet mint over the camp. When they returned we applied shibori to our bandanas and dropped them into the Toyon bath.

There's Colinn holding up his work and the bandanas mid-soak in the sage bath.

After hiking, dyeing and distilling, we retired to the campfire and ate stew under a blanket of stars. Thankful for that trip.

Visit Juniper Ridge for Harvest Stories and Wilderness Perfume. by clicking here.

*Steep Ravine is one of the most sought after campgrounds in the bay area. Interested in booking a cabin? Make sure to log on 6 months ahead of time when the cabins are first posted for reservations.