The Land of Giants

Trip Start Jul 13, 2009
Trip End Oct 07, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, September 28, 2009

We started the day with a trip to Alcatraz so didn't leave San Francisco until the afternoon. Roddy and Anja had recommended In-N-Out Burger so we stopped off at one for lunch after being on the road for an hour, and although the burger menu has only 3 burger options the quality is good and tasty for fast food. Just to note in case any of you are heading out that way :-)

After a long drive up to Arcata including a detour along the Avenue of the Giants (a road that winds through magnificent redwoods parallel to the 101), we finally arrived at the Super 8 after dark.

On arrival we were hoping that it was going to be nice as we had hit a very average Super 8 and a very nice Super 8 so far on our journey. This fitted in between the two and was a good base with a supermarket opposite us and a couple of gas stations at the end of the road.

With a little research on the internet we decided on a couple of walks that we wanted to do the following day. Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwoods National Park was impressive and a great start to the day. The walk wasn't long and over flat ground so we were back on the road after about an hour. The next place we wanted to investigate was the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Fern Canyon in particular as it was where Jurasic Park - The Lost World was filmed. On the drive in it was a dirt track down to a beach and we forded 3 streams! Good Chevy Cobalt!

The walk followed a creek through a canyon where the walls were covered in.....ferns! We very gracefully criss-crossed over the stream by using logs strategically placed. Okay maybe it wasn't graceful but we didn't get our feet wet. It reminded me of the balance beam from primary school and bush walks in NZ with my family growing up.

After that adventure we went in search of Big Tree. Big Tree is a coast redwood tree measuring 304 feet tall and 21 feet in diameter. A farmer had wanted to cut it down to make a dance floor but it was saved. There is a bigger tree but to protect it the location is only known to a few people.

Onwards we headed up to Klamath and stopped to look over the bay from a scenic viewpoint. At the right time of year you can spot whales. Unfortunately this was from November so we missed out by a couple of months. A brilliant view though.

I had heard of the drive through trees and on the way home Adrian spotted the sign Klamath Tour Thru Tree. It cost $4 and I thought worth every cent as how often do you drive a car through a tree!

After a packed day we headed back to Arcata to relax. We came across Roosevelt elk which are the largest and most visible land mammal in the northern redwood region. Elk watching "hotspots" in Redwood National and State Parks are at Davison Road (one hundred yards from Highway 101) and Elk Prairie along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. We saw them at both spots.

The sunset caught our eye as we headed down the coast so we stopped off on a beach overlooking the ocean. A ranger then approached us to let us know a Tsunami warning had been issued for the Califonian coast as the aftermath of the Samoan disaster. It was predicted to only be 20 inches though. The sunset was stunning and we finally made our way to the motel.

The next morning we were off to Klamath Falls in Oregon. Adrian and I decided that we really wanted to see Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park. With only a short period of time allocated we went directly to the centerpiece of the state park, Stout Memorial Grove. It was our favourite place for viewing the large trees. We wished we had more time to view the area but were looking forward to Crater Lake National Park.

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