After leaving Eureka, we headed into the National Redwood Forest. And after a brief stop at the Nature Center and a chat with friendly rangers, we headed off to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. And that's where I think we saw our largest redwoods of the trip. It was a beautifully maintained 1.5 mile hike.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Second day of coastal driving between Fort Bragg and Eureka and had to veer inland to the Avenue of Giants. There was nothing outside of San Francisco--occasional towns, but no fast food joints or touristy anything. Just nature and parks and sketchy little towns. But as soon as we started to get close to Giant Redwood territory, the wood carvings and Americana and tourist traps started popping up alongside the road.
All of these little bears were on the porch of the Peg House--probably amazing in-season, but sad a ghost-empty when we arrived. We bought a snack and some stickers and got back on the road as quickly as possible.
Even off the coast, the roads were still just as dangerously steep, narrow and wind-y. Just beyond this sign, the road completely doubled back on itself.
Just the very start of it. . .Teeny tiny itty bitty Redwoods.
BIGFOOT!!! (and right by the side of the road, too. He's gotta be more careful.)
The moss on the trees was a brilliant green, of course.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Because we headed into Giant Redwood territory. It felt like all I did for days was look straight up into the sky. There's nothing that can prepare you for the scale of those trees. You can look at all of the pictures you want of cars driving through the trees or pictures of big picnic groups joining hands and it taking many people to go around the circumference of the tree, but you can't understand the overwhelming size of the Redwoods until you're standing amongst them. I have a memory of it now, but even so, I know it's not doing them justice. It's almost more than the mind can contain.
Added to that is the incredible stillness and quiet in the redwood forests. You're dumbfounded by the size of the trees, but then you're also confronted by it in a place that is as quiet as church. I think that it might be hard to visit the Redwood Forests and not be a little overcome or at the very least feel like you're in the heart of something larger than you, something that reduces you to and all of your worries and complaints to their appropriate teeny tiny size.
Before continuing up the coast from Fort Bragg, we doubled back to visit the Mendocino Headlands. Dan wasn't totally convinced of the value of this backtracking, until we go there. . . Where we hopped around the headlands and stared down cliffs and studied the little plants clinging to the sides of the rocks. My biggest surprise--vegetation-wise--was how many wild irises grew on rock faces in the wind and salt from the ocean.
sort of blurry/dreamy photo. . . though unintentional in the moment, it's sort of how the trip feels now. Already a little far away and out of focus. The constant driving and moving around was exhausting, but I wish we could have kept driving together forever. . .