Yesterday, we spent the day exploring the southern portion of Redwood National and State Parks.  This park unit is co-managed by the National Park Service and California State Parks, and most of our visit was concentrated in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

We started off with a drive and short hike to Fern Canyon.  We watch a lot of YouTube travel videos and at least two of the channels we watch regularly said that a visit to Fern Canyon was a must stop when in the area.  We did the research and knew that the road in was unpaved and narrow, but we weren’t really prepared for what was to come.  It was VERY narrow in spots, meaning that when encountering another car, one of you often had to back up, and sometimes not a short distance.  It was also very rough in spots, and the creek crossing was a little deeper than we anticipated.  Because we carry so much gear in our truck, and the truck itself is pretty crucial to our travels, we aren’t always thrilled about rough roads, and only take them when we feel like the destination is worth the risk.  We don’t want to tear up all our stuff!  Anyway, we made it to the Fern Canyon trailhead, put on our waterproof boots, and hiked in.  It is a very short hike and is not strenuous at all.  You enter the canyon pretty quickly and it is a beautiful and peaceful sight with all the ferns and plants clinging to the walls and the creek running through the middle.  Especially this time of year, there is no way to avoid walking through the creek (that was over ankle deep at times), so you will definitely want some tall boots.  We have read that later in the year, they install walkways to keep you out of the creek so much, but that doesn’t typically happen until June.  Anyway, there is a Fern Canyon Loop Trail that we had intended to do, but after getting most of the way through the canyon, we encountered some pretty thick underbrush, some of which looked like poison oak, so we chose to turn around and head back out the way we came in.  Now, keep in mind that the following is just our opinion, and may be an unpopular one with others who have been here, but if we had it to do over, we would have chosen to do something different with our morning.  We are not disputing that Fern Canyon is a gorgeous place.  Like we said earlier, it is beautiful and peaceful, but it is a relatively small area and we just don’t think it is worth the drive in.  If it were off a regular road, we would absolutely say, yes, everyone should visit, but given the difficulty of the road, it wasn’t worth it to us. 

Once we made it back out of the twisty-turny, steep, rough, and narrow road, we decided to stop for the quick walk to Trillium Falls.  We had read on the park website that this trail is a favorite of many of the rangers, so we figured it had to be worth the mile hike to see the falls.  Oh my goodness, was it ever!  This was one of those times that we took off to do a one-mile hike and couldn’t stop there.  We ended up continuing on to do the entire 2.5 miles Trillium Falls Loop trail.  This trail was our first encounter with the redwoods, and we just couldn’t make ourselves turn around at the falls.  To us, Trillium Falls was beautiful, but the stars of the trail had to be the trees.  There were just so many of the huge, old-growth redwoods!  We think the quantity of them is what made them so impressive to us.  The sequoias we saw in Yosemite were even larger (by volume) than the redwoods (though redwoods are taller), but in a sequoia grove you would see a few trees together and that would be it.  With redwoods, there are so many of them together that it would be almost impossible to count.  Everywhere you look is another giant tree.  It is truly awe inspiring.  On the way back to the truck after completing the loop, we even met a couple of the friendly locals.  A banana slug and a snail saw us out.

At this point, it was getting late in the afternoon, but we still wanted to do the Newton B. Drury Scenic Drive, so north we went.  This drive takes you through the heart of Prairie Creek, with pull outs along the way for some of the more famous trees and some trailheads, and all along the way, the road is lined with the giant redwoods we had fallen in love with.  Again, it was getting late in the day, so we didn’t really have time for a longer hike (there were so many that we would have enjoyed), but we stopped at the Big Tree Wayside and did the short Circle Trail there, and pulled off in a couple of other spots to enjoy the views.  At one point on the Circle Trail, Heather said she felt like one of the kids from the movie “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”  Having such giant trees surrounding you can really make you feel small!  And it isn’t just the trees that are big.  It seems like everything grows big here.  Even the clover was the size of the palm of your hand!  Anyway, we enjoyed the drive so much that when we reached the end and should have gotten back on Highway 101, we just turned around and drove back on the scenic drive instead.

Always working on something!

Our plan for today was to go out and enjoy some more of Redwoods National and State Parks, but remember in the last post when we talked about something always needing to be fixed or maintained?  Well, last night, our propane detector decided to go off, not once, not twice, but three times, in the middle of the night.  After the second time, we turned off the propane to the camper entirely, yet it still went off again about 40 minutes later.  We still have no idea what was going on, but we needed to spend some time today trying to figure it out, so our redwood plans had to be put aside.  Our best guess is that the detector is getting old and malfunctioned, or possibly that a small amount of some type of gas made it in from one of the neighboring campsites.  Jeff spent a bunch of time this morning trying to find a new one we could buy locally, but was unable to do so. For now he took this one apart, cleaned it out good and put it back together.  We will pick up a new one as soon as we are able and replace this one, but at this point, this is the best we can do.   To put everyone’s mind at ease, Jeff leak tested all the propane fittings he could get to, and didn’t find anything.  Also, at no point did we ever smell propane, and the detector hasn’t gone off all day, even though we turned the propane back on to the camper this morning.  We are just hoping that we make it through the night without another alarm.  Nothing will scare you up out of bed faster, that is for sure!

We did manage to go for a walk down the beach this afternoon, and it was not hard to tell that we are definitely in the Pacific northwest!  Even at 4:00 in the afternoon, it was chilly and damp, with a fog that never lifted the entire day!

We kicked around the idea of spending another day or two near the redwoods since we didn’t get to see everything we hoped to see, but decided to go on into Oregon tomorrow.  We would really like to be crossing the border into Canada by the middle of May, so we don’t want to delay too much.  We still have two states and a lot of distance to cover!

Until next time!

6 thoughts on “Redwoods!”

  1. I think you and Jeff should have strapped on your JC Penney climbing shoes and raced to the top of one of those trees.

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