Sunday, October 3, 2010

California Redwoods Bound: Sept 28

Bright and early we hit the road west on 140 through the Rogue River National Forest. Our second free night courtesy of the national forest service will amortize our per diem nicely...but we are so ready for the coast.

Today we drive via Medford and Grants Pass and down 199 toward Crescent City, CA, and the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Our route today is in green.

Lunch in the truck: PB and rooftop honey (Pete, do you still eat peanut butter and honey?) with apples and raw veggies.

Art finds his favorite dark-chocolate Kit Kats at a gas stop.

We pick up the interstate briefly near Grants Pass. It's a fine view ahead. Too late I spy a sign for The World Famous House of Mystery at the Oregon Vortex. Too bad--that's a roadside attraction I'd pull off for.

Soon we cross the border and are ushered into a mandatory CA agricultural inspection. Uh oh. I hope all my Boise produce will pass.

This nice inspector guy was looking for scale on our avocados but found none. We didn't have any citrus, the other target. Our nice dry pine (picked up by Art, who never misses an opportunity, at the hot springs campground in Idaho) has some tiny bore holes. The inspector asks us to burn it tonight. No problemo. We get our certificate.

Heading into northern California, the roadside explodes with ferns and I immediately fall in love. I've never been here. All the green makes me feel rehydrated.

At the redwoods state park, each of the generous sites has a bear box for storing food. In it all goes, including the salad SIP, which has organic fertilizer mixed in. We don't want any trouble.

The trees are magnificent.

I pull out tonight's dinner and stow it in the camper.

And then we hike the park, filled with 2000-year-old coast redwoods, which can grow nearly 400 feet tall. See Art in purple at lower left in the second pic? These trees are massive and have the nicest energy. I wish I'd brought along a book we read last year, Richard Preston's THE WILD TREES, an extraordinary tale of some young scientists who in the 1970s discovered the unique ecosystem that exists atop the redwoods.

On a path to the Smith River (known to rise 10 feet in 24 hours during a heavy rain), we meet some friendly folks, Dale and Dennis, he just retired from AT&T, and their pups.

The river glows turquoise in the light as we walk back up the steep path.

All kinds of friendly flora find a place on the redwoods.

Yes, I'm a tree-hugger and proud of it.

While it's sunny today, coastal redwoods gather up to one-third of their annual moisture from fog that really starts rolling in during October. A single old-growth coast redwood consumes up to 500 gallons of water daily.

Art finds a cool grill at one of the vacant sites that he might replicate when we get home.

A plain illustration given to us by the ranger explains the difference in location and attributes between the coastal redwoods and the sequoias (my sister's favorite Scrabble word) found inland.

There may be larger redwoods down the coast, but tomorrow we're heading north for the first time--up the Oregon coast. I feel lucky to have spent the afternoon with these beautiful monsters.

Tonight we walk over to see Dale and Dennis's 1964 Safari Airstream, purchased the weekend after he retired (they're on their first voyage) from a dentist and his interior designer wife. Good combo for a beautiful trailer inside and out.

We share some smoke and conversation around the campfire. To longtime tent campers like them (and us), this is a palace.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you guys are having a good time. I'm in Dillon, MT and leaving for Missoula tomorrow. Caught a 22" brown on the Wise river on Sunday. Been on the road since 9/9. Grand Canyon was grand. Dan Diego was a Navy nostalgia trip (and the Kristin wedding). Pat flew back home while I went to Zion & Bryce canyons. Then on to Heber city to fish the Provo river. After that Flaming Gorge canyon in Utah and fished the Green river for 2 guided days. Like fishing in an aquarium. Too beautiful for words. Then Dillon after a 1 day detour to fix the power seat on the drivers side. (I know Art could have fixed it himself, but there you go.)Weather here has been late summer 80 degree cloudless days. Some slight change due tomorrow, but still remarkably nice.

    Stay shiny side up and have a safe trip as you continue.