Friday, 20 June 2008

The Redwoods of California.

The Redwood forests of California were the last place on our travels that I'd been dreaming of visiting for the past year. I remember looking at photos of the Californian forests this time last year, before we'd even booked our flights, and showing the photos to Steve, in an attempt to tempt him to take the trip. So I was really excited to finally be walking around the Redwood Forests.

We headed to California sooner than expected, as Oregon (beautiful as it was) was just too cold and windy for an outdoor life. So we got into the RV and headed south, and before we knew it we were in the redwoods, about a week ahead of schedule. The Redwood forests span many miles along the Californian coast. We drove through the national park, as well as countless state parks along the way. The drive was just magical. Winding roads lined with the tallest, biggest trees on the earth. The forest smelled so fresh and pure. Everything was huge there. Not only the trees, but the ferns, and the clover, were all giant sized. The Redwoods only grow in this region because of the amount of water on offer from the rain, river, sea and fog. The forests runs right down to the seashore. Driving through the park when the fog starts to set through the tree tops is a spooky experience!

Little Barney was the first one to set trail into the forest. Dan and I accompanied him on a hike whilst Jimmie and Annabelle chose to stay in the RV. (It's taken 5 months of no TV and no toys, but Jimmie has finally taken up reading as a hobbie! I never thought I'd see the day!) Barney was totally inspired by the forest. The trees seemed huge to us as adults, so I'm sure they seemed even bigger to him. He ran through the trees, leading the way, and stopping every 10 metres or so to point out another huge specimen. Some of the trees had millions of newly hatched caterpillars crawling about them, which Barney found amusing. Every now and then he'd call out "don't tread on that caterpillar" as he ran on ahead.

We took another hike to see 'The Big Tree' (which is the one in the top most photo on this post). This tree is at least a thousand of years old and really is quite some size, as you can see in the photo. We took our junior ranger programs on this hike with us and learnt why it is important not to climb on the fallen logs in the forest. The fallen trees act as nursery logs to new seedlings, and a home to many animals. We studied one of the nursery logs for the kids ranger badge and made sketches of it. This was to be the childrens last junior ranger program of the trip, so we made the most of it. On this walk we discovered a tree that had a little entrance way into it, like a cave. The tree was still growing, but Dan and the kids were able to crawl right inside it and sit within its trunk as if they were in a little hut! The forests really did feel like some sort of jurassic jungle. The kids half expected dinosaurs to come running out at them!

We stayed in a campsite very close to the redwoods so that we could continue exploring the next day. When we finally decided it was time to move on we eventually found ourselves driving along the famous 'Avenue of the Giants', which is basically a scenic road that runs along side the motorway, driving through more Redwood forests. Along this road we found a campsite to stay in. The campsite had only just opened and since we were one of the first customers they gave us a free redwoods mug. That campsite is where the photo was taken, of Annabelle and Barney sitting inside a hollowed out redwood log.

After our few days in the forest we decided it was time to give the children some beach time. We'd been promising them a warm beach for hundreds of miles. So we stayed in a sea side town called Fort Bragg where we found a beautiful secluded beach to lay on for a day. The best thing about the beach was that it had a large pool of warm water that hadn't washed out to sea. It was perfect for the kids to play safely in and they had a great day getting sand into every possible part of their bodies.

No comments: