We arrived in the Redwoods near dusk. It was like a fairy tale world, with the large trees and ferns, the sunlight filtering in a little, and the sound of nature all around. The next morning was even more magical. Jedediah State Park has an awesome campground. Flush toilets, quarter showers, fire pits, bear boxes, and an amazing atmosphere for $35 . We were in heaven.
Our tent in heaven.
While we were setting up the tent and making dinner, the little ones adventured around our camp site. They found a banana slug climbing up the tree. It was v e r y s l o w….Simon was thrilled to see that it was still on the tree the next morning.
We had an Oregon breakfast, with Portland French bread, our salalberry jam, and our rose hip tea (which my tea-lover picked out while we were at the rose gardens in Portland).
While I was making breakfast, Luken shouted out, “There’s a squirrel in the van!”. I thought he was joking….he does that a lot. But sure enough, there was the squirrel, climbing in and out of the van, happily finding all of the crumbs we had missed the night before. There are bear boxes at the campground, because there are bears in the area. It is a crumb-free zone, which means you have to keep it pristine. It is for both your safety and the bears’ safety.
This squirrel was no rookie. It knew what it was doing. In and out, then back for another nut or gold fish…..it had the routine down. It didn’t come out for a while, but when it did, I tried to grab a shot. Silly squirrel.
Such a lovely breakfast.
Simon found another banana slug, this one was almost a foot long and everyone came running to see it. So much fun watching them enjoy nature together.
I love snails (not in my garden, mind you). This redwood snail was such a beautiful shade of red and brown, almost as if it was made that way to fit in to its surroundings.
After we showered and loaded up the van, we headed out to find a trail to hike. Stout Memorial Grove was supposed to be both beautiful and easy for young ones. As we were crossing a bridge to the trail head, we passed over this turquoise water. I kid you not. This water was more turquoise than I have ever seen any other river.
Love my kids.
I know it is strange that sometimes I like watching my family from a distance, trying to capture the love they are generating, for posterity’s sake. I know. Kind of creepy…but in a good way, right? 😉
Stout Grove did not disappoint. So magnificent!
There weren’t any signs that said not to climb on or around the trees. Although we did keep the kids on the path as much as possible, there were some shots I couldn’t resist getting.
I think we all know who is in charge of our family. LOL
These burls were gorgeous. Sometimes, the flaws in nature are the most interesting parts of all.
I love this quote. So fun to see it on a bench in the Redwoods. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin” ~Shakespeare
My little adventurers wandering along the paths.
We learned a lot about the redwoods. Their roots aren’t deep, but they go out wide and connect with one another. They are all a part of one huge network. When one goes down, it almost always takes another down with it. Here are two trees that fell apart. You can see how huge these trees were. The bases spanned around 12 feet easily.
Do you recognize this setting from any movies? Think dinosaurs and ewoks…..both Jurassic Park and Return of the Jedi had segments that were filmed in the Jedediah Redwoods. The rangers up here verified (unofficially, of course) that they were filmed right here in Stout Grove. I believe it!
We decided not to get one of the iconic images of our car pulling through a tree. Instead, I attempted to get one of Toy Yoda and an entire redwood….these babies are SO TALL! I seriously would have had to be around 100 feet away to get the entire tree it was next to.
Ever since Aaron and I first got married, he has talked about going to Crescent City. He remembered the sea lions, the rock crabs, and the amazing tide pools he had visited with his family, as a child. We both had this amazing image of Crescent City in our minds. When we drove into Crescent City on our first night (to dry our sleeping bags at the laundry mat), we were very disappointed. I still can’t believe how many run-down towns there are in California. I wasn’t thrilled about going to the beach, because I imagined it wouldn’t be any better than the city. Happy to report that I was wrong.
While I was calling ahead to our next campground and leaving a message with one of my best friend’s best friends (who we were hopeful to meet up with while down in the Mendocino area), Aaron and the kids headed down to the beach. I had just finished up on the phone, when Ethan came running towards the van. He looked horrified, as he yelled, “Start the van! Simon fell and hit his head and we need to get him to a hospital right now.” After so many times of having not-so-funny jokes pulled on me, it took me almost 15 seconds to realize he wasn’t kidding. I stopped the nearest local and asked them where the closest hospital was. Then I went and started up the van. I didn’t know how bad the injury was. Ethan didn’t usually freak out over blood or injuries, so I was worried. As I saw Aaron carrying Simon up, I could see that his entire forehead was covered in blood.
Aaron asked why the van was running. When I told him about Ethan running up and freaking out, Aaron said it wasn’t as bad as it looked….that calmed me down a little. Aaron explained that Simon and Luken ran ahead, onto the beach, and jumped on some wet rocks in the tide pool area, which was when Simon slipped and went down on the rocks. Luckily, his hands kept him from hitting harder.
The gouge wasn’t worthy of stitches. We have gotten stitches several times and the last time, we vowed not to get stitches unless it was an absolute necessity. When you have a kid who picks at the scab constantly, the stitches take forever heal and there is still a scar (this is his fourth eyebrow/forehead scar…the kid thinks he is invincible). After a minute of discussion and looking at the cleaned wound, we decided to call it good. We threw a butterfly band-aid on, with a regular band-aid over the top. We all piled in Toy Yoda and were about to head out when I asked how the beach was. I could tell Aaron was bummed that he hadn’t even had a chance to see the beach he had been dying to get back to. I asked the kids, including the injured stunt man, if they wanted to attempt another run at the beach. It was a unanimous YES. So, we braved the winds and went down to Battery Point. So glad we did!
It was worth being in the arm pit of California (yes, Barstow, you heard me….Crescent City is the other arm pit!). The kids found these crab shells on the beach. I kept them in a ziplock bag all the way home….nasty smells and all. I plan on getting some silica sand to put them in, to speed the drying process, then I am going to seal them up and put them out with some of our beach pictures. It’s kind of like drying wild flowers, right?
Aaron loves exploring the tide pools for fauna. At Battery Point, he found lots of crab, some sea slugs, some gobies, starfish, limpets, mussels, and barnacles. Aaron pointed them out to the kids and they even did some catch and release with the crabs.
I loved that the beach was mostly rocks, not sand. I made sure to gather some of these beauties to add to my collection of sands from around the world.
Loved the rocks, with the kelp and barnacles encrusted all over them.
Our wounded warrior, right next to the rocks he fell on….poor little adventurer.
Battery Point Lighthouse was closed, but it looks like it would be fun to visit, if we are ever here again.
Once we had our fill of beach time, we went to the Redwoods Crescent City location to work on our Junior Ranger badges.
The ranger that swore the kids in was pretty awesome. It was so cute hearing my little Si Guy repeating the pledge with the other kids.
Did I mention the rangers were awesome? They noticed that we hadn’t passed off the Banana Slug Slide requirement. This ranger got on his best rapping voice and rapped the lyrics while he and the kids did the Banana Slug Slide.
What fun! I don’t think the kids will be forgetting this Junior Ranger requirement any time soon. LOL
This picture isn’t in focus, but you might be able to see all of the different cones from the trees in the surrounding area. When the ranger asked which pinecones the kids thought belonged to the majestic redwood, they all caught on that it wasn’t the largest one there. In fact, it was the smallest one. It wasn’t until we were home, unloading Toy Yoda, that I recognized two of these teeny pinecones. Apparently, someone (he who shall not be named) forgot that we aren’t supposed to take anything out of the National Parks. How DOES one return items mistakenly taken?
As we continued on down the coast, we drove past the Trees of Mystery tourist attraction. Aaron had visited there years earlier and he said he didn’t even want to find out the cost….not worth our time. We did stop long enough for me to lean out the window and get a picture of Paul Bunyan and his ox, Babe.
As we drove deeper into the California valley, we saw the smoke hovering over the top. My heart dropped. California has really been hit with so many nasty fires this spring. My heart goes out to all of those who have been effected by these devastating fires.
LOVED driving down 101.
And the smoke gave the sunset a lovely hue of yellow and pink. There is beauty all around.
For dinner, we ended up stopping at a Jack in the Box in Eureka (let me just say that Eureka was another town I can say I don’t need to visit again). While we were there, the kids and I got to witness a prostitute, a gigolo, and their pimp, grabbing some lunch and making a meth deal…..how exciting! We ate and got outta Dodge!
As the sun set, we entered Highway 1. While we had hoped to see it in the daylight, it was dark and not at all what we had expected. For those who haven’t driven on 1, it is winding, forest-filled, all up or down ( depending upon which part of the mountain you are on) until you reach Mendocino….which was where we were heading. I am sure it is stunning during the day, but it was quite nerve-wracking during the night. We did enjoy seeing a lot of animals along the way. Aaron was extremely exhausted by the time we pulled into the Russian Gulch State Park. They had flushing toilets, quarter showers, and firepits….all for $35. The stars were out and scattered across the sky. We set up our tent (this time in less than 20 minutes) and crawled into our bags. It had been a very eventful and fun day, but now we needed to recharge. Since we arrived at 11pm, we had no idea what the actual campground looked like, but Michri had sent me a message letting me know that this was one of the campgrounds she had heard was awesome. She was right. 🙂