Tree Huggin'

Trip Start Aug 12, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Gold Bluffs Beach Campground Orick
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, October 8, 2013

We'd seen the World's largest trees, and now we were chasing down the tallest: the California Redwoods.  But the US Government and National Parks were still shut down, so where could we find them?  Thankfully California is riddled with State Parks, that share the splendour with their federal counterparts.

Our first stop was Humboldt Redwoods SP, home to the Federation Grove of Redwoods.  We were greeted by a hilariously inaccurate Welcome sign, indicating that we were "here" in the completely opposite end of the park.  Thankfully some helpful Samaritan had taken a pen and drawn an extended arrow all the way to the correct end.  HAHA.
We pulled up a campsite in the main ground near the Visitors Centre which was in a wonderful setting, amongst the towering trees.  Unfortunately that night we realised that it was also only about 500m from the Interstate that runs through the park.  The next morning we revisited the Visitor's Centre, to ask if they had any alternatives, and got pointed towards the Albee Creek Campground in the western part of the Park.  We packed the tent and made the short commute through the eternal twilight that is typical of the forest floor beneath the redwoods.  This ground was more like it; quiet, peaceful and even including the occasional deer...until that night.  This time our slumber was interrupted by a massive storm that rolled through, tearing branches out of the trees and dropping them within inches of our tent.  In the interest of self preservation we evacuated and spent the night safely tucked away in Tonka's tray, for only the second time this trip.

Our next stop was adjacent to Redwoods NP, in Prairie Creek Redwoods SP.  Here we stumbled upon what must be one of the best campgrounds of the whole trip.  About 8km down a dirt road is Gold's Bluff Beach.  Here you set up camp in the dunes at a spot where the redwoods stand like lighthouses on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  It also turned out be a great place to spot Elk, and do a bit of hiking.  About 3km from the campground was the amazing Fern Canyon, which Hollywood chose as a setting for part of Jurassic Park II.

I really enjoyed the Redwood Forests.  Walking around the bases of trees that are thousands of years old, and well over 100m tall really helps put things into perspective.  The Redwood Forests were also the chosen location for Star Wars' Endor (Jebediah Smith Redwoods SP to be precise), and you almost expect to see Ewoks running around.  But since there were none of these critters to cuddle, the trees themselves made a suitable alternative for a hug or two... 

[8,560 miles on the road]
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