August 19, 2014

ROAD TRIP: CAMPING IN THE REDWOODS

During my first visit to the US Nick and I took an epic road trip up the West Coast. We traveled from San Diego all the way to Seattle in two weeks, camping along the way. This is the story of that journey and you can read the previous posts here.

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DAY #8-9 AND COUNTING


Let's take up where we left off concerning the Travel Tuesday series: our not-so-in-the-present road trip that we took along the West Coast when I first visited the US. After the city sights of San Francisco and one more short camping stop that I decided to skip (in case you did the math and were wondering where day #7 went) for entertainment value, we arrived at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. I was ready for some forests and wilderness and I was pretty excited to see these so called enormous trees. Let me tell you now that these pictures I took will not come close to the feeling of actually standing there, looking up to one of those giants and feeling completely insignificant in the universe.

"The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always" 
  John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley: In Search of America

THE REDWOODS


When you read that the Coast Redwood includes the tallest living tree on earth (379 ft or 115,5 m), you know you're in for a unique experience. The Coast Redwood is closely related to those other tall American trees: the sequoias, and can be found, as the name suggests, along the coast of California and Oregon. Wikipedia tells me these majestic trees don't grow in Southern California for lack of humidity. So if you ever find yourself up north the Redwood National and State Parks will show you just what these giants are capable of.


"It's not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time" (JS)

Calling the Redwoods "ambassadors of another time" is hardly exaggerated since these majestic trees are among the oldest living things on Earth. Walking among them was almost a spiritual experience and I don't say that lightly. Some 95% of the original old-growth trees have been cut down. I can't imagine how many people you would need to tackle a tree like this. 

At the moment, the tallest living tree is the Hyperion, which was discovered in Redwood National Park in 2006. Before 2006, the record holder was the Stratosphere Giant (112,84m or 370,2 ft), one of the trees in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. In that same park, you can still find the trunk of the Dyerville Giant, which fell down in 1991. The tree was estimated to be a 1.600 years old and its trunk has been preserved for visitors to walk along. 


THE CAMPING

We camped in the Redwoods for two days and after having the traumatic experience of waking up to rain drops falling on your head, we took the necessary precautions. Having one big tent that wasn't rain proof and one smaller one, we came up with the brilliant idea of placing a tent within a tent. I know, we're geniuses. Too bad we weren't paying attention in Biology because there was no change of being rained on, what with all those giant trees catching the moisture before it could drop. Still, our tent structure WAS efficient to keep the numerous insects out of our sleeping area. 

Fun fact: this was the first time ever that I heard of and saw a bear box. I have to admit I was a bit uncomfortable at the thought of bears roaming around (in my defense: I'm a city girl). And I did triple check to make sure I hadn't left any of my precious Bath & Body Works purchases in the area. Rest assured, we didn't see any bears but it was all very exciting. 




WHAT TO DO

To be honest, when you're in a forest the main activity will probably include walking. Or hiking I should say (maybe hiking is supposed to be faster than walking in which case there's no distinction with me). But of course you can go biking, running, swimming, etc. There are 10 miles of scenic beach to be discovered but we decided to hike to Fern Canyon because of our time frame: a good 4.6 miles and a perfect way to see a bit of the park. Fern Canyon is absolutely beautiful and along with a lot of other people I can definitely recommend this hike if you don't have a lot of time. 

The park consists of old growth redwood and was designated as a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.



Our two day stop in this magnificent park definitely left an impression on me. It was one of those moments when you realise there are so many wonderful places and things to be discovered across the globe and just never enough time...


"No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe." (JS)  

What was your most spiritual travel experience? And have you ever been to the Redwoods? 

Travel Tuesday
Linking up with BonnieCamilaJessi and Amy for Travel Tuesday

10 comments :

  1. Definitely works now :)

    Just wanted to say how happy these pictures of the redwoods make me. I grew up near Arcata, CA so I know almost exactly where you were staying -- north of Arcata but south of Crescent City. It makes me happy to read the blog posts about the places that very few people know about, but I know quite well -- it is especially nice when I am so far away from these places. :) Glad you are enjoying California

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    1. Yay! I'm glad this post made you think of home in a good way ;) I absolutely loved the area!

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  2. That quote about the redwood trees are so interesting and makes me want to see them in real life even more!!!

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    1. I saw those quotes and I just had to use them, because they describe exactly how I felt while being there :) They're definitely worth a visit!

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  3. I've never seen the redwood trees - but when I travelled to BC I saw some of those giant trees and they are amazing! I mean I feel so tiny and insignificant next to them that are so tall and so old! And how cool that there is a bear box - so useful! I went camping once and we had to try and lift our stuff up a tree lol, tad inconvenient!

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    1. Oh wow, I thought they would have bear boxes everywhere but I guess that doesn't makes sense haha, it sounds a lot more adventurous to have to lift your stuff up a tree! Nature here has really been incredible to see, definitely not something I was used too...

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  4. Fantastic photographs! This looks like a truly beautiful spot. I have visited New Zealand's oldest tree Tane Mahuta, which is a kauri and thought to be about 2,300 years old. He is a midget next to these guys though - only about 51 metres high! I agree that there is something breath-taking about being in the presence of such incredible trees - I found it very peaceful.

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    1. Thanks Jessi :) Wow, that's a really old tree too. I've never been to New Zealand but I would love to visit it one day... I am usually not really that interested in forests and I love the business of a city, but you're absolutely right... standing among those giant trees was just very peaceful.

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  5. This is definitely on my bucket list. WOW!

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    1. They're definitely worth it! I really want to go see the sequoia trees now for a little comparison ;)

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