Redwood National Park encompasses a narrow band of land along the northern California coastline. The national park (established 1968) is combined with several state parks (Jedediah Smith, Prairie Creek, and Del Norte Coast) and together they protect almost 50% of known redwood trees. We started the morning
escaping driving out of Crescent City, south along the coast on Highway 101. The 101 hugs the Pacific Ocean from LA to the Olympic Peninsula and has always been something I’ve wanted to drive. Viewpoints like this confirmed my suspicions on how gorgeous it would be:
We also had the chance to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams: driving through a redwood. Yes, I know this sounds weird, but in some elementary school textbook there is a picture showing a car driving through a tree (probably this one) to illustrate just how gigantic redwoods are and I had to do it. There are actually three trees near (but not in) the park that you can drive through – we chose the Tour Thru Tree (silly lawyers can’t let them say “drive-thru” for liability reasons) for no other reason other than it was close to our itinerary.
After this detour we zipped back into the park and drove through majestic groves of redwoods. It’s easy to spot which ones they are – their ashy grey trunks draw your eye upwards and they tower over every other tree; they are the tallest on Earth. Sequoias may have more volume and be more round, but they don’t scrap the sky like these giants:
Our itinerary did not leave much time for lingering, though this is a national park I’d love to revisit. We continued on to Fern Canyon in the southern (and Prairie Creek controlled) section or the park. Since it’s not technically part of the National Parks System we had to pay an $8 day use fee, and although it was a quick jaunt, it was worth it.
After that we headed out, we made a brief stop in Arcata, CA for a delicious lunch at the Kebab Cafe (get the gyro itself or gyro burger – so good!!). If you didn’t know, California is in the midst of a terrible drought and I felt like were were driving through kindling as we drove Hwy 299 through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. It’s less a “forest” and more a lot of dried trees, cracking brush and dirt that look ready to ignite any second. It was also hot as blazes out there:
When we were in Arcata we called ahead to Chester, CA and got the last room at the Cedar Lodge Motel. We’re planning on camping at some point, but Jeff needed the internet for work this evening. The folks who run this Motel and RV Park are so nice, our room is clean and we’re very close to Lassen for our second national park of the trip. We were also given a complimentary newspaper detailing the local fishing report – adorable. Fun fact about Chester: Chuck Norris’s wife is from here and they have a house nearby. Tonight is good: Lake Almanor is steps away with a refreshing breeze, we have sandwiches from the local hippy market packed for tomorrow’s hike and I’m just really thankful there’s no foghorn.
We’re off to hike in Lassen tomorrow and then if we stick to the itinerary will be in Ely, NV tomorrow evening. Having internet each night has been nice, but not sure if we’ll get as lucky from here on out.