The Redwood Forest

After the always splendid Crater Lake, we headed south into California to see Redwoods National Park. The enormous trees are located in northern part of the state along the Pacific coast, a beautiful location in its own right. The area is made up of a patchwork of federal and state parks, Indian reservations, and the tiny towns between them.

he height of a  redwood tree compared to the Statue of Liberty

Redwood trees are the tallest living things on Earth. The tallest is called Hyperion. Discovered in 2006, it rises to 379 feet, about 80 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty (including its pedestal). They thrive on the coastal fog and can live up to 2,200 years.

Once we arrived in the area, we got some food and cooking supplies at a local store and set up camp. By now it was getting late, so I collected some wood and we built a fire to cook our dinner. Tomorrow we will explore the forest.

The following day, we visited the coast at False Klamath Cove, just north of Lagoon Creek. The tide was out so we climbed onto the rocks. Mel walked a ways out to an outcropping that would normally just peak above the water.

Mel on the Pacific coast

Mel on the Pacific coast

Mel standing on the rocks

Mel standing on the rocks

After our brief visit here, we took to the forest on the Irvine Trail. We hiked from Prairie Creek five miles to Fern Canyon and the Pacific Ocean, where instead of a rocky shoreline, there was a sandy beach.

Fern Canyon is a moss- and fern-covered gorge along the coast. As it winds its way deeper into the virgin forest, it becomes a narrow, deep ravine.

Rays of sunshine in the redwood forest

Rays of sunshine in the redwood forest

Along the trail in the redwood forest

Along the trail in the redwood forest

Mel in the Fern Canyon

Mel in the Fern Canyon

The hike, while relatively flat, was about 5 miles through virgin forest. So little virgin forest remains in America and it's wonderful to walk through. Once we got to the beach, we were ready to sit and relax for awhile. But, we did have to get back to the car before sundown, so we have another 5 miles to go today.

By the time we got back to camp, we were tired, but excited to sit by the fire awhile and cook dinner. Pork adobo, salad, and a bottle of Riesling tonight.

The next morning we cooked some eggs and packed up the camp. Gotta keep moving!

Our first challenge this morning will be to find some gas. We're running very low and there aren't too many options in these parts. We won't make Eureka to the south, and there are no big towns to the north. We headed south with the hope that one of the small towns we drive through will have something. Otherwise we're really screwed.

We made it to Orick, California, the only town for 25 miles in any direction. We needed a gas station in this town. After driving through half the town and seeing nothing, our anxiety was increasing. Rounding a bend, we saw the familiar sign from some well-known gas chain. But, when we cleared the building beside it, our hopes were dashed: it was fenced off and closed for good.

Woodcarving along the road

Woodcarving along the road

Pumping gas

Pumping gas

We were indeed being taken care of this day, because at the edge of town there was a shack with a sign that read Got Gas? It was a Ma and Pa place: she was inside minding the store while he was outside carving a bear out of a tree with a chainsaw. And, I was merrily filling up the gas tank.