Day 13-15: Redwoods National and State Parks (8/16-18)
The drive from Shasta to Redwoods took much longer than we expected (in part due to brush fires shutting down the 5 freeway), so we arrived to our campsite in the dark (again, as usual). Even in the dark though, it was immediately obvious that we were in a different climate. The campground felt like a jungle, with a dense canopy of trees over our heads and much more humid air than we are used to. Also, lots of mosquitos! Nathan immediately put on bug spray, but still got a few bites while Katharine remained untouched even without any bug spray.
On Friday we woke up and were amazed by the lushness all around our campground. We had a sense of it the night before, but it was more impressive in the daylight. There was moss everywhere and giant old growth trees towering above us.
Our first stop was at the visitor center. Redwoods is a combination of national and state parks that are managed together as one unit. But they still have distinct areas and are not contiguous, so it was a bit complicated to research ahead of time. The rangers gave us some tips for hikes and pointed out the areas with old growth forests. We decided to start with the southern most park (farthest from our campground) which turned out to be the national park section.
We did some scenic drives through the forest then emerged into a meadow where we hoped to see Roosevelt elk. Sadly, there were none to be seen, but the meadow and rolling hills were still fun to explore.
We also stopped and did a quick hike/walk through the Ladybird Grove of Redwoods. The forest was so lush, with giant clover (technically redwood sorell), tons of ferns, and again, moss is everywhere!
That night, we enjoyed another night in the forest and had our first campfire of the trip, complete with marshmallows!
The next day, we planned to do the middle section of the park, Prairie Creek Redwoods SP. We had a couple hikes planned out and some other scenic stops, but after a long drive down there (long due to the 101 having a couple one lane sections that were backed up), we were disappointed to find the park closed. Apparently there was an armed robbery and car jacking, and the armed suspect was somewhere in the park, so they closed it while they searched for him. At that point, we didn’t really have many great options for the day, so we returned to some of the meadows where elk tend to frequent. Sadly, no elk, but there were tons of blackberries!
Katharine was very excited for berries
We picked a few, then headed back to our campground, stopping for a quick walk through the Stout Grove.
For dessert that night, we enjoyed our fresh picked blackberries and ice cream!
The next morning we got up a bit earlier to do the first real hike of our time in Redwoods to the Boy Scout Tree in Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP near our campground. It was only 5 miles, but had some decent elevation gain so we felt like we finally got a bit of a workout.
After that, we took a quick shower and headed to our first stop outside of California on our Epic Trip, Crater Lake NP, OR.
Epic Trip Stats:
- Days: 15
- Nights in a tent: 12
- Miles driven: 1544
- Miles hiked: 67
- National Parks: 4
- Number of bug bites: 5 (all on Nathan)