November 10, 2010

11/7/10 – Redwood NP & SP

We stayed in a little county park in Grants Pass, Oregon, for a few days. My cousin Charlotte lives in GP and I lugged my dirty laundry to her house one day while George played golf.
The next day we left Grants Pass to head south to the Redwoods. We drove through Cave Junction with windshield wipers pushing raindrops—we could have been doing the same thing in Washington.
The drive down to Crescent City on 101 wasn't technically part of the NP, but there were some really big trees there. The rain had turned into a mist, with fog strands lingering in the distance, clouds beginning to break up.
Redwood National Forest is a joint endeavor with California State Parks. Not quite sure how that works. Park headquarters is in Crescent City where the ocean shimmered under ragged blue skies. We stopped for a park map and advice from the ranger on hikes.
If you've never seen the Redwoods, those are some mighty tall trees! The one they call "Big Tree"—easy hike among the trees and ferns along a sodden trail—is 287' tall and 21' around; the top was knocked off by lightning many years ago but it still impresses with its size.
Even the trees that have been burned are fascinating. Some of them are heavily damaged by fire, leaving only a remnant of trunk standing around an empty core, but there's new growth at the top. Keep in mind that new growth on a Redwood could be a few hundred years old. Not only are they tall and big around—they're also very old.
Next we hiked the "Lady Bird Johnson Commemorative Loop". If you're not old enough to remember who she was, she was the First Lady in the mid-60's. Wonder if she actually hiked the trail, or if they took her out on a golf cart or something? You cross an elevated wooden bridge from the parking lot over the road. Elevation was a bit higher on the trail, so it was more open.
There's more Redwoods farther south but we were going to be out of daylight before we got back to the trailer in Grants Pass so we turned around just north of Orick. We had seen an elk herd in a meadow on the way south. By the time we came back they had moved down the road and crossed it and were browsing happily on the grass in somebody's yard. There were several large bulls among them, so it was obviously past mating season conflicts.

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