US-50 West 2022:
Day 8 - Humboldt Redwoods State Park [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

US-50 West 2022: [Day 1 - Owensville] [Day 2 - Dodge City] [Day 3 - Cañon City] [Day 4 - Colorado NM] [Day 5 - Great Basin NP] [Day 6 - Folsom Lake SRA] [Day 7 - Lassen Volcanic NP] [Day 8 - Humboldt Redwoods SP] [Day 9 - Portola Valley] [Day 10 - Pinnacles NP] [Day 11 - Yosemite] [Day 12 - Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP] [Day 13 - Picacho Peak SP] [Day 14 - Flagstaff] [Day 15 - El Reno] [Day 16 - Heading Home]

Saturday, October 8, 2022: No, those aren't giant insects attacking the tent, that's just the Gazelle logo on the rainfly. We'd put the rainfly on in an attempt to keep more heat in the tent.
Our themometer showed that it had gotten down to 29°F at some point durng the night, but we had been plenty warm in our sleeping bags with our hats and fleeces.
Breakfast was Pop-Tarts and Dreamworld Coke Zero.
We stayed snuggled in our sleeping bags for a little while longer. We were about an hour further westward that we would have originally been, so we could afford to have a lazy morning. Tom held his phone to the sky hoping to get more than one bar of signal.
By 9:30 AM, we had torn down our campsite, packed the van, and hit the road.
We were well and truly in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest now, ...
... and still driving along the Trinity River.
At some point, we crossed into the Six Rivers National Forest, ...
... although you couldn't tell by the scenery.
Septimus turned over 110,000 miles, which was amazing considering that it had been at 75,000 miles a little more than a year ago.
Just before 11 AM, we reached Willow Creek, the Bigfoot Capital of the World.
They take their Bigfoot memorabilia seriously in this town, ...
... including naming this section of the National Forest Scenic Byway the Bigfoot Highway.
We got a real life view of the Willow Creek art we saw on their welcome sign.
Shortly after reaching the town of Hoopa, we turned of Highway 96 onto Pine Creek Road. The road was brand new pavement, with beautiful trees on both sides, ...
... until abruptly the pavement ended. Google Maps said it was seven miles until the next turn at Bald Creek Road, and we decided that we would press on, hoping that the dirt road would turn back into pavement soon.
We got excited as we approached a bridge, because there was pavement again. Alas, the pavement only lasted for the bridge crossing and then turned back into rocky dirt.
With the thought still fresh in our minds that at least we can eat this stray chicken if the van breaks down and we get stranded, ...
... we reached Bald Creek Road and pavement. Google Maps had routed us on a disused unpaved logging road on a route that it thought would save 9 minutes. However, the extremely slow pace over the rocky logging road had taken much longer, and had likely taken many years of of Tom's life.
Back on solid, paved roads, we took in the incredible views from our elevated vantage point, ...
.. until we saw this sign. More than a little traumatized by the logging road, it took a minute or two before we decided to press on.
Here we go.
One minute later, we officially entered the Redwood National and State Parks.
There was smoke in the air and a huge area of burned grass ahead. There was a sign stating that there was fire activity ahead, and we had seen a sign right after the pavement ended saying that we were entering an area with a prescribed burn and not to report it.
There was heavy smoke coming from farther down the hillside, but we couldn't see any more than that.
We, well, mostly Tom, gave a huge sigh of relief when the pavement returned. We drove along the grasslands, ...
... until suddenly we were driving through huge trees.
Our first stop was Redwood Creek Overlook.
There was an information sign pointing out the various sights along Redwood Creek Basin, ...
... and it matched up exactly with what we could see. The dark green on the upper left of the photo is one of the largest stands of old-growth redwoods.
Zooming way in on distant right side of photo above, you can see clouds from the coast nestling right up into the trees.
Zooming in on the center of the photo, you can make out Redwood Creek and the groves of redwoods on either bank.
We left the overlook ...
... and made our way to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. Lady Bird came to this site in 1968 to help dedicate the newly designated Redwood National Park, and had this grove named in her honor by President Nixon in 1969.
We headed up the trail, ...
... and were absolutely stunned by the size of the trees. Gigantic doesn't even begin to describe them.
Here's Debbie's hand on the bark of one of them for scale.
We spent a little time trying to wrap our heads around the enormity of the trees around us, ...
... and then we headed back to the van. The logging road and the several miles of dirt road in the national park had clearly left their mark on the van.
We emerged from the hills and joined up with US 101, also known as the Redwood Highway in these parts, ...
... and started to encounter the cloud bank we had seen from the Redwood Creek Overlook.
There were lots of people standing on the bridge over the Redwood Creek, so we pulled over to check out what they were looking at.
There was a herd of dozens of elk along the creekbed. A local told us that this herd split off from another one, and have been frequenting this area for a while.
We stopped at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center in the hopes that the Mather plaque had been put back out on display.
While Tom checked out the relief map of the area, Debbie got the scoop on the Mather plaque from a ranger. It was still in storage awaiting the construction of a new visitor center, which had been delayed for several years, possibly indefinitely. Bummer.
We headed to the back of the visitor center, out onto the boardwalk, ...
... which led to a beach ...
... and the Pacific Ocean. Debbie was here!
And so was Tom!
The fog and the waves were incredible, ...
... and we just stood there taking it in. We both love the sight and sounds of the ocean, and just wanted to enjoy being right along the seashore for a short time.
We started our walk back to the visitor center, ...
... admiring the beautiful plants along the walkway.
We left Redwood National and State Park behind, and headed south on US 101. We started out in heavy fog, ...
... but it gave way to blue sky as we got further south.
As we reached Arcata Bay, there were beautiful trees lining the road that had the coolest bark. It was a bunch of different colors including red, yellow, white, and gray.
That's a Northwest Pacific railroad bridge that leads into the town of Eureka, California.
Check out the detail on the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts on the left and the Redwood Capital Bank on the right.
We stopped at In-N-Out burger for lunch, since it counts as regional food, ...
... and got two cheeseburgers, animal style, and a side of fries.
That's a giant hammer at Pierson's Building Center. The mural on the front of the building was amazing as well.
We could see the fog and clouds just hanging over the land a little way off, ...
... but where we were, it was still bright and sunny.
If there was any doubt that we were in logging country, this huge pile of unprocessed tree trunks should clear that up.
Just north of Pepperwood, we turned off US 101 and entered the Avenue of the Giants, a 32-mile-long scenic highway that is named after the towering redwoods that line the route.
Are you ready? Let's get into the trees!
Avenue of the Giants runs through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, ...
... and just inside the entrance is a kiosk to pick up a map of the route.
The road winds right through the trees, sometimes within a foot or two.
The tiny town of Redcrest is nestled in among the trees, and there are several shops that sell redwood-related souvenirs.
We re-entered the forest and stopped at Chandler Grove to take a look around.
Seriously. These are big trees.
There was redwood sorrel all around the grove.
It was all serene and beautiful.
Next, we crossed the Eel River and kept heading south.
The drive was incredibly peaceful, and we were virtually alone on the road.
Near the town of Weott, we saw this pole that marked the height of the water during the Christmas flood of 1964. The top of that pole is 46 feet high. Yikes.
Just before 4 PM, we pulled into the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center.
This tree fell near Bear Creek on December 26, 2006. The sign mounted to it says that the inner ring of this tree dates back to 912 AD.
An older version of the informational log has been turned into this bench.
Debbie is certain that she remembers seeing one like this as a child. There were metal signs tacked onto the log indicating the approximate year of the ring and what happened in history in that year.
Unfortunately, we had taken too long admiring the trees and missed the visitor center. It closed right at 4 PM. We walked around for a little longer, found the bathrooms, and then continued on the Avenue of the Giants.
Our next stop was at the Kent Grove. William Kent was the lead sponsor of the bill that created the National Park Service.
This tree has been down for so long that it has become the ground for other growing things.
We drove a little further down the road until we got to Mather Grove. We parked and started looking for the Mather plaque that is here.
Our information indicated that it should be just north of mile post 15.04, ...
... and sure enough, that's where it was.
William Kent and Stephen Mather had purchased these groves through the Save the Redwoods League in 1921.
There was a green patina from weathering on this one, which makes sense considering has been here since 1932.
The dried redwood needles on the ground were like the softest carpet pad you can imagine. 
We walked back to our van, amazed at the complete lack of other cars on the road. It was like we had the entire place to ourselves.
Look at the hole in the center of the tree on the left. Don't you feel like you could walk into it and disappear into a hidden world?
Right at 4:30 PM, we arrived at Hidden Springs Campground, our destination for today. The campground was full, so it's a good thing that we had already a site reserved.
Twenty-five minutes later, we had found our site, carried our gear down a short incline, and set up our Bundlings utopia.
There was no rain forecast, so we went without the rainfly. We really prefer to not use it, since the views through the mesh on the top of the tent are so spectactular, especially when surrounded by giant redwoods.
We had internet, so Tom watched a replay of the SpaceX launch that had happened earlier in the day.
Here's a view of our campsite from where the van was parked, ...
... and here's the van itself. The walkway down to the campsite is right behind the van.
The bathroom building had coin-operated showers, with each shower in its own private room, so we took our two remaining quarters and made the most of the two minutes that we were able to purchase.
Here's Debbie sporting that freshly showered and clean look.
Dinner was oatmeal made with water boiled on the camp stove.
Our beautiful tent looks very inviting from the outside at night, doesn't it?
One of our favorite times of day is when we are relaxing in the tent after dinner and before bedtime. We read and surfed and played on our phones for several hours before turning in for the night.

Day 9 >

US-50 West 2022: [Day 1 - Owensville] [Day 2 - Dodge City] [Day 3 - Cañon City] [Day 4 - Colorado NM] [Day 5 - Great Basin NP] [Day 6 - Folsom Lake SRA] [Day 7 - Lassen Volcanic NP] [Day 8 - Humboldt Redwoods SP] [Day 9 - Portola Valley] [Day 10 - Pinnacles NP] [Day 11 - Yosemite] [Day 12 - Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP] [Day 13 - Picacho Peak SP] [Day 14 - Flagstaff] [Day 15 - El Reno] [Day 16 - Heading Home] [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

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