Skunks and Redwoods

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Prairie Creek Campground

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Well, there was certainly some excitement in the night last night. As usual, Jess rose and stepped on every single mattress and person around 2am on her way to the toilet. However, last night was a bit different, as, when she went out to wee, she said "Tim, there's a skunk around our picnic table!" It was quite amusing to see her dancing back and forth from the doorway to the tent, to her bed as she squeezed her legs tight and tried to decide if she could hold it, or risk it?!?!??! After three or four dances, she finally said, "Tim, can you help me?" (as if Tim possessed the magical ability to shoo skunks).  Nevertheless, it moved a safe distance away and she made a dash for the toilet and returned just as the skunk was feeding back towards the tent. While this was happening, Eli shot straight up when he heard Jess say "skunk" for the first time and remained awake, staring at the "cuteypie" (as he called it) as we risked our dashes to the toilet. Well, this was not all of the night disturbances, as about one hour later, two raccoons began squabbling over some food near the rubbish bin and around 6am, two woodpeckers hammered on the bark of a tree above our head and then bickered over the grubs that fell out. However, despite that, we all had a sound night's sleep and didn't get out of bed until after 7.
As seems very routine and typical now, we broke camp and were on the road around 9. We had a quick stop at Safeway for some groceries, Tim bought  coffee at Starbucks in order to justify the use of wifi and blog posting and, munching doughnuts from Safeway, we headed out. It was only meant to be a short drive (ever heard that one before?), but due to the severely twisting and steep roads, which rival even the roads around Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, we took nearly two hours to travel 40 miles back to Route 101. This part of the drive was punctuated by one highlight and one disappointment. The highlight was driving Odie through a redwood tree (see our pictures). It was a tight squeeze and necessitated pulling in the mirrors on both sides, but was safely accomplished. This despite the comment from one of the onlookers who said; "sure seemed like a good idea at the time didn't it?" A short drive up the road was the disappointment as the souvenir store that for decades had been based inside a redwood tree, was closed! We stopped and took pictures as both Jess and I remembered previous times in our lives when we had stopped and wandered into that particular knick-knack shop in a tree. We then uneventfully continued up Route 101 until we arrived at our destination: Prairie Creek State Park and the Elk Meadow Campground. Redwood National Park is an interesting park as it is actually jointly run and governed by both the National Park Service and the California State Park Service. In practical terms, this means that State Park(s) and the National Park coincide and overlap as you make your way up and through the coastal redwood groves. No doubt we will learn more about redwood trees tomorrow as we are based in our campsite for two nights and have the luxury of spending all of tomorrow out, about and around the park.
To finish our afternoon perambulations, we went for a ten mile drive up and over some coastal hills in order to get to the beach at Gold Bluffs State Park. Eli and Lily were both desperate for a play on the beach and for an hour (the second night in a row) they happily dug in and played upon the sand while bathed in the late afternoon sunshine. This afternoon was quite mild in terms of wind and Jess and I once more got to sit on the beach and relax while the kids frolicked in the sand. We both just love this section of coastline and more than once today we remarked how it strongly reminded us of the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Perhaps this is why we love it so much and why it evokes such strong feelings and emotions in us? Anyway, too soon it was time to round up the kids and head back to our campsite for dinner and hot cups of mulled cider. Tomorrow we will spend the whole day exploring this section of coast, no doubt there is more beach time and wandering amongst the "tallest measured trees in the world" in our future. 
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