Redwood National and State Parks
May 29 - June 1, 2002
Redwood National Park was established in 1968 and expanded in1978 to protect the superlative ancient redwood forests growing along the northern California coast. Coast redwoods tower over all other trees in the world (the tallest tree at 367.8 feet was discovered on the bands of Redwood Creek in 1963). Giant sequoias, their cousins growing on the Sierra Nevada's western slope, grow larger in diameter and bulk, but not as tall as coast redwoods. Today, the national park's boundary also includes Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks.
Driving to Redwood was pretty easy: just keep going north on 101 for 400 miles and we will get there. We had an early start at 7:00AM (because Woanyu thought it was the time to register the Chinese School for Linus ...), and traffic was good even in San Francisco and on Golden Gate Bridge. But it was too late to give Linus some car sickness medicine that he threw up in the car not far after we passed the Golden Gate Bridge, and we had to stop to change some clean clothes for him. After that, it was a smooth drive and we stopped at a McDonald's in Willits and still got some breakfast in time. When we entered the redwood country, we chose to drive on the Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile scenic alternative to Highway 101. It is a portion of old Highway 101 and passes through dense redwood forests.
|Humboldt State Park is along the Avenue of the Giants. We stopped at William Grove and took a short walk passing through redwood forests to the river. We also stopped at the visitor center to get an overview of the redwood country. We did not spend too much time here since we still had more than 60 miles to drive to today's destination: Eureka.|
|We headed north to Redwood National Park at about 8:00AM. We stopped at the visitor center near Orick first to get the permit to Tall Tree Grove. The visitor center was not open until 9:00AM and we were about 15 min early. We took a trail beside the visitor center going through the wet lands along the coast while we were waiting.|
|We had a picnic at the Redwood Creek Overlook where you have a nice panoramic view of mountains and forests.|
|We had got the permit to Tall Tree Grove earlier. There was a locked gate at the beginning of the unpaved road and we were given today's combination code to the lock. The trail down to the grove (1.3-mile one way) is steep, descending 800 feet into the grove where some of the world's tallest trees grow (367.8 feet). I carried Iris to the grove and she fell asleep on my back. After reaching the grove, we went to the creek side where we can have a much better view of those tall trees. On the way back, Linus and Iris held each other's hand and walked (and ran sometimes) uphill without stop. I couldn't believe they made it and still had plenty of energy left.|
|Built in 1856, this historic lighthouse sits on a small island 100 feet offshore. It is accessible only on foot -- and only at low tide. We went to the lighthouse after dinner, and we were lucky that it was low tide. There were many tide pools between the lighthouse and the mainland. Woanyu found many little gastropods, crabs and hermit crabs in those tide pools. To be honest, it was my first time to see and feel a real hermit crab. We all had a lot of fun of finding those small creatures.|
|Howland Hill Road is an exceptionally beautiful drive (unpaved), which follows the historic stagecoach route to Oregon, leading to Stout Grove, an outstanding grove of old growth redwoods. Although it was rainy, we can still do some hiking in Stout Grove because these tall trees were like huge umbrellas for us.|
After dinner, we went back to Battery Point lighthouse again. It was kind of crazy because it was rainy and windy and there was nobody else. We only stayed for about 5 minutes and found a couple of hermit crabs. Although we were all a little bit wet, we were all happy to call it a day.
We took the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway (parallel with 101) in Prairie Creek State Park. We stopped at the visitor center where there is a big open space of meadow with a herd of elks walking around. They were too far away from the parking lot even for my 400mm lens.
On the way home, we stopped at Willits again and had lunch at the same McDonald's. From 9AM to 6PM, it took us about 9 hours to get home. Besides we had a longer drive than other trips we had before, one other major difference of this trip was that I didn't get up early to shoot any sunrise or stay late for sunset because the weather was always cloudy (or rainy) in the early morning and late afternoon. The good thing was that I got more sleep than what I needed. Now we have visited all eight national parks in California, we have to think about what our next step is :-)
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