Feeling small.....

Trip Start May 08, 2013
Trip End Aug 02, 2013

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Where I stayed
Mary Smith, Prairie Creek Campgrounds

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, May 27, 2013



On Memorial Day we left the American River and drove up to Chico for another reunion with good friends. Patti and Mike Salomon lived in Hawaii for 27 years prior to retiring to Patti’s home town of Chico. We made the drive up in time for lunch and a nice visit to their new home. They have a very comfortable double wide in a modular home park, which is at least eight times the size of the boat they lived on for years. Lots of room and a garden, can’t get that on a boat!

After lunch we headed north to Redding and from there up into the coastal range. We spent the night in Mary Smith campground in the Shasta Trinity National Forest. One other lone camper occupied a site at the end of the campground, what a difference from the mob scene at the American River. The camp is on the side of Trinity Lake, a reservoir high up in the mountains. A soft rain serenaded us to sleep that night making me thankful that I had resealed the roof in Reno….

The next day we headed over the mountains into Eureka, California, back on the coast. Eureka is a lumber town with a large industrial harbor. Several lumber mills operate in the area milling the harvest of the abundant forests in the area. Barb’s parents suggested eating at the Samoa Cookhouse. It is a relic from the past when the mill workers were provided lunch as a part of their employment package. The place seats hundreds and serves family style with a set menu. Tuesday lunch was fried chicken with mash potatoes, beans, corn, soup, salad and drink, all you want. Followed up with bread pudding of course!

Our goal for this afternoon was Redwood National and State Parks on the north coast of California. Highway 101 is our route for the next several days and we take it north. Blue stopped at every interesting site along the way. Trinidad was especially scenic with its boat mooring field tucked behind its promontory. They use a cable car system to pull boats up the top of a ramp and a hoist loads them onto trailers from there. Old School.

The visitor’s center at Redwood National Forest offered lots of information on the old growth redwoods, an informative video on the same and great information on campsites. Barb learned a lot and Bill was feeling rested after napping through the movie. On down the road to see the real deal.

At Lady Bird Johnson Grove we took a two mile interpretive hike through a grove of massive trees. Having just been educated on the redwood species, we saved some time reading the informative brochure. Here it is in a nutshell: Redwoods are the tallest trees in North America rising to over 300’, they live and average of 600-800 years, but some get to be 2,000 years old! The trees largely regenerate from their own root system, their small cones distribute thousands of seeds, but very few seedlings survive. You will see six trees growing in a cluster around a dead stump, all growing from the same shallow, but broad root system. Redwoods live so long because they are resistant to insects and fire, darned hard to kill. However, mankind developed special techniques for cutting and hauling the massive trees and the total redwood acreage went from over two million acres to only around 118,000 today. The earliest fossils of redwoods date back 160 million years, and mankind almost eliminated them in a hundred! Luckily some far sighted individuals saw what was happening and protected some of these majestic trees for us to enjoy today. But hurry, don’t wait to go see them, who knows what can happen?

That night we stayed at Prairie Meadow campground. Yes in the middle of the Redwood National Park, we stayed next to a meadow, a meadow with Roosevelt Elk grazing! It is so cool to see these majestic animals grazing right off of the road, without any concern for the dozens of tourists snapping pictures. The meadow is surrounded by giant redwoods, so we didn’t miss out on anything. After a nice campfire visit with our neighboring campers from Germany, we called it a night.

Tomorrow, more Redwoods and the Oregon coast.
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