I’d consider myself short. I’m 5 feet 4 inches if I stretch my neck tall. (Not that I’m complaining, mind you; I don’t get as scrunched in airplane seats.) Yet even with this lifetime of practice, nothing could prepare me for how short I’d feel next to the height and majesty of what we’ve walked through this week- the California redwoods.
We are currently at the Redwoods National and State Parks, an area that hugs the Northern California coastline. The whole park is comprised of a jigsaw puzzle of state parks and national parks, all put together to save these majestic trees from logging. The main attraction, the Coast Redwood, can stretch to 375 feet tall, reach 26 feet wide and be a cool 2,000 years old.
We’re staying in Crescent City, CA. Crescent City is a sweet coastal town known for, if their downtown signs are any indicator, the Battery Point Lighthouse and tsunamis. (I’ll stick with the lighthouse, thanks.)
We’re camping right on the harbor, so we also are within a 2-minute walk of all of the coastal wildlife: seals that like to wrestle each other for the best sunbathing spot, pelicans that like to dive-bomb the water and seagulls that like to… well… cover the harbor in white splatters.
Our first full day here, we spent the day hiking the Boy Scout Trail (always be prepared) in Jedidiah Smith State Park. The 5-mile hike meanders through an old growth forest, taking you around, under and- sometimes- over the rich, red trees. About ten minutes from the end of the hike, a steep uphill jaunt to the right leads you to the trail’s namesake. At 23.24 ft. in diameter, the Boy Scout Tree did not disappoint. The hike ended in a quiet waterfall that, while not quite 24 feet wide, made a good place for lunch.
Day 2 involved an excursion south. Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, we entered into Prairie Creek State Park. There, we stopped for a visit to two trees named for their looks: Corkscrew Tree and Big Tree (over 300 ft. tall).
On the Redwoods, it is common to see new tree growths either on the branches or from the knots, called burls, at the trees’ roots. These growths are actually clones of the original tree and a way for it to stay alive. The Redwoods parks are also known for their elk sightings; and while we didn’t get that lucky, we did get to tune our radio to the Elk Radio station, a real thing. A late lunch staring at the California coast’s waves finished our journey south.
Tomorrow, we’re packing up and going to (cue the dramatic music) the Zone of Totality to- fingers crossed- see the solar eclipse. Afterward, we’ll stay in Portland, OR, with our best daughter.*
*If you couldn’t tell by the writing style and this asterisked sentence, this post has been written by Ashley, the youngest daughter.