Monday, December 26, 2011

Avenue of the Giants: Humboldt Redwoods State Park Auto Tour

Humboldt Redwoods State Park encircles 53,000 acres, including 17,000 acres of old-growth coast redwoods and the 10,000-acre Rockefeller Forest, the largest contiguous old-growth redwood forest in the world.

The tallest trees on earth,
reaching heights of 300+ feet, some 2,000 years old

The 30-mile auto tour (paralleling Highway 101) is a brilliant means of traversing the land where these giants sit, the best Christmas gift I could imagine.

Not a chance I can portray the immensity. You need something for scale, and a person just barely does it.

How about an auto? There were a handful of others taking the tour this morning, in the light and deep shadow.

In the presence of these immense beings, thrumming with energy, one becomes almost hyper-aligned with the rhythms of the natural world.
The 32-mile Avenue of the Giants road was originally built as a stagecoach and wagon road in the 1880s. Can you imagine?

We cross the Eel River as we meet up again with Highway 101, heading southeast toward Highway 1, which climbs ever higher on its path to the coast.

A two-laner filled with tight turns and precipitous thousand-foot drop-offs (some on my side--yikes), Highway 1 is a road of hairpin turns and ribbon-thin shoulders.

The drop-offs are so steep that at one turn I realize we're looking at the upper third of a group of junior redwoods, their trunks rooted far far below. 

How lovely, then, to see the Pacific on our way to check out a campground in Westport, north on the Mendocino coastline.

This is the site of the Westport KOA campground. Hard to believe, right? We don't regularly stay at KOAs, but this one was highly recommended. The actual campground is just to the right in this photo.

The views were better from above, and the water sites weren't open (not that anyone was parked in them), meaning these people had the temerity to charge $47 for back-camp locations. Snark.

We drove Highway 1 a few more hairpin-turn miles to Caspar. Look at that road!

 Our campsite sits off Caspar Beach, just over that rise.

A woman was riding her horse on the beach.

The camp has flowering thyme and calla lilies.  It's quiet here.
Time to stretch it out before cocktails...

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful! Thanks for publishing this post. The photos of Eel River and the woman riding her horse on the beach particularly bring me right back to the last time I traipsed through those gorgeous giants. I photo'd the same spots here and hope you enjoy: