So the trip from here on out will be a mad dash to the finish of sorts. We’re trying to spend as much time in Alaska as possible, so we’ll be rearranging a little. The next stop after Yosemite is Redwood national park. We drove out the southern entrance of the park and headed back up 99 to I-5 which would take us back toward the coast. We then cut over on I-20 heading back west and then hooked up with 101 again. Off of 101, we took the scenic drive through the avenue of the giants. What a magical place! 32 miles of huge pacific coast redwoods towering over the road as you drive along the dim and eerily quiet route 254. There is an auto-tour with several informational stops along the way, but it was frustratingly hard to capture the site in my pictures
. I think we arrived at the perfect time of day also as it was around 4pm as dusk was falling in the forest, lending to the mysterious atmosphere of the drive. We got back on 101 and headed north aiming for several of the California state parks in the area of Redwood NP. We had also picked up a local California state park map at the visitor center along the ave. of the giants which was somewhat helpful. Unfortunately, several of the camping areas and roads in the state parks were closed as we didn’t really arrive in the area until around 630pm. We passed several pretty vistas as we drove along the coast, but ended up passing several closed campgrounds and all the informational centers were also closed. We finally arrived at prairie creek redwoods state park which actually overlaps with redwood national park and was as far north as we were planning on driving. Luckily, we spotted a camping sign and at the turnoff for this road (Davison road) it was showing the campground as as open (according to the sign) and we decided to make the drive up to the Gold Bluffs beach campground which was also on the way to the fern canyon hike we had thought about doing. This was a very interesting road….we were really surprised there were no warnings of the condition of the road as it was unpaved and contained hundreds of swimming pool sized pot holes. We thought walter might drop his muffler at a couple of points but we slowly and carefully made our way the 4 miles to the ranger check in point. No rangers were present but they evidently work on the honor system as they had a self checkin and payment for the site ($35) and we drove the 2 miles more out to the camp
. I would say that the drive was definitely worth it, as the camp was small quiet and surrounded by thick forest on one side and the pacific ocean on the other. Gold coast beach was blanketed by a thick fog and the sun was just setting behind the clouds on the horizon while we set up camp. They had small solar powered facilities and clean water and it really made you feel like you were ‘out there’. Nothing but us and nature! I was kind of wishing we could stay here a couple more nights but we got another early start and were on the road by 730am. As it turns out the road/trail to fern canyon was closed, so we weren’t able to do the short hike before leaving. We did see a bald eagle from afar out on the beach as we drove back towards davison rd. If there’s only a couple wild animals I said I would have to see on this trip, bald eagles were one of them, however I hope we see a few more (and at closer range) when we get farther north.
As some of you might know by now, our trip is going to be cut short a little as Nat had to take a job that starts a little earlier than we would have liked. I guess no matter how far you drive, you can't escape 'the man’ forever J So we shaved a day off Yosemite and we’re cutting out Tahoe too.