Next stop, giant redwood trees.
Nothing could have prepared us for the impact. Even seeing the giant sequoias did not prepare us. One minute we were driving along, looking at the scenery, then BAM. Next minute we are in a dark, shaded grove of giant redwoods. Stunning. Majestic. Awe-inspiring. To say the least.
We spent one night in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The campground is located along the Avenue of the Giants, which roughly parallels CA 101. There were lots of bike tourists along the route, and our campground had hike/bike campsites for $5 per person. What a bargain! (Note to self: Future bikepacking trip.) All of the sites are in the thick forest. There was a tree stump at our camp that was as big as our car. Seriously.
The Interpretive Center is located right next to the campground, so we walked over and got interpreted. There is an enormous slice of tree displayed out front with corresponding date markers next to some of the growth rings. Dates like: 1000: Vikings discover America; and 1368: Ming dynasty begins. Giant redwoods can live up to 2000 years. Ancient, indeed.
The next day we moved north, through Redwoods National Park, up to Jedediah Smith State Park and scored a primo campsite. Pro tip: When this happens on a Thursday, you should always go ahead and stay until Monday. Our site overlooked the Smith River, the last free-flowing river in California. This river may be the most beautiful river I have ever seen. Blue-green, clear as crystal, rocky. Smith River + giant redwoods = paradise. We wanted to stay forever.
We spent a cloudy morning at Point St. George, just north of Crescent City, California. On a clear day the views would have been even more spectacular, but there’s something moody and magical about a gray misty beach day. After walking down to the rocky beach which was chock full of driftwood, we followed a trail up and along the top of the coastal bluffs through wildflower meadows and thickets of trees. There may have been some frolicking. I won’t mention any names.