This morning is chilly and foggy. Our plan is to head up CA 101 along the coast with a stop at the Prarie Creek Visitor Center for some information about the Redwood National Park and then another stop at a commercial site called “The Trees of Mystery.” We have no idea if this will be some awful tree-themed park or something better.
Luckily the fog lifts as we approach the Visitor’s Center. The Redwoods National Park is a conglomeration of national and state parks conserving and highlighting the world’s tallest trees. Redwoods grow from small seeds into organisms that can weigh 500 tons and be taller than the Statue of Liberty. They have foot thick bark that makes them all but impervious to fire and insects. After procuring some brochures we head out along the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway where the majesty of the tall trees can be appreciated.
From the sublime to the somewhat more ridiculous, we stop next at the touristy “Trees of Mystery.” We are greeted by an enormous waving statue of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox. Paul Bunyan is a folk (or fake) lore figure and part of the Trees of Mystery is devoted to his story.
We join the line to get tickets and soon we are on our way hiking the main trail with its various named redwoods. I take a short break at the bear settee.
There are many beautiful views as we walk up the trail. Here’s one of the sunlight streaming through the trees.
We stop for a photo op at the Brotherhood Tree, the tallest one in the park. It has a nice sentiment on the sign.
The next portion of our adventure is a gondola ride up to the treetops. We meet a nice family from Washington State who are making the opposite journey from ours. They ask us what to see along the California coast.
From our vantage point high above the trees we can see the marine layer rolling back in.
The Trail of Tall Tales is next and is devoted to the lore of Paul Bunyan. There are many of his adventures carved into redwood slabs with a chain saw. This is less interesting although I enjoy taking a picture of J.P. Stumpy with my own J.P.
At the end of the trails we are ushered into the gift shop after passing a cross section of a thousand year old tree. The earliest rings are from the time of the Crusades, 1096 A.D.
We need to be at our rental house around 4 PM so it is time to hustle up the coast after a quick bite for lunch in Crescent City. I rented this house on VRBO and it is supposed to be right on the ocean surrounded by solitude. I am hoping that it lives up to the hype (and price.) We follow the directions and head down a dirt road and around a bend and there it is. The house and the ocean! It is a pretty spectacular setting. Yay!