And then there were trees
Our adventurous expedition continues, as our plan today was to spend time hiking and exploring these massive trees and nature trails. Redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest tree species on earth! And then there were trees, lots of trees. They were big, small, wide, corked, and even drive through with a car trees. Gigantic trees were everywhere you turn. We did get a little tease earlier in our drive as we started venturing through these magnificent specimens starting around a little town called Leggett, California. We browsed our way through Smithe Redwoods SNR, Humbolt Redwoods, and then onto the Avenue of the Giants.
Avenue of the Giants was a peaceful less traveled path to take to explore these natural wonders. This particular area is the greatest accumulation of biomass, which is comprised of both living and dead organic material, ever recorded in a coast redwood forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Did you know that coast redwoods are taller than any other living thing! Here are a few interesting stops we made on this tour:
Stop 2: Bolling Grove where many of the redwoods take interesting shapes and sizes.
Stop 3: Visitor Center
Stop 4: Weott
Stop 5: Mahan Plaque is where there have been reports of people seeing an elusive large creature across the road (Sasquatch, Big Foot).
Stop 6: Dyerville
Stop 7: Chandler Grove
Stop 8: Drury/Chaney Grove where a nice 2.4 nature loop trail takes you through these massive species of trees.
We continue our journey north passing through Eureka and arriving into our resting destination of Arcata, California. But before arriving in Arcata, we also stopped for a rest at this neat stop in Klamath, California where a giant Paul Bunyan and Babe statue stood. We went into the museum and shop to browse around a bit and glanced at all the historical photos of characters from the old Wild West including the Indians and other explorers.
We arrived early but yet late enough to check into our hotel and we dropped off our food and personal items, then headed back out to explore a new area. We returned to a scenic spot we passed by earlier to re-capture a few more photos of these extraordinary vistas and views.
After capturing a few eye catchy coastal view photos, we headed back to our hotel in Arcata, and while on the way we stumbled upon a quaint Mexican restaurant while driving through Eureka. We are usually very hesitant to try new places, but it was a sit down restaurant and we thought we’d give it a try. If you have food allergies or food sensitivities, they will do whatever you ask them to suit your needs. They mentioned to me that most of their sauces contain milk, except for one kind and that is what I chose for my Enchilada sauce. The food and sauces were made of quality ingredients. Hence, our meal did not disappoint, and was very delicious! If you are traveling through this area, you may want to check out this restaurant.
After inhaling the scrumptious dinner at Tres Pecosos, we thought we would try to seek out another photo op before the sun goes down. A scenic area for a sunset at the beach and coast area would be perfect. But there were still a couple of hours of sunlight and we were just too tired to mill around until sunset so we captured a few stunning shots and made our way back to the hotel and hit the sack.
Sunset at beach area, near Eureka
The excitement level at this time was through the roof
And we had not even made it to the Oregon border yet. We’ve heard the most wonderful things about Oregon and especially about the coastline and its remarkable beauty. We awoke to a morning full of sun and fresh breezes. It was an absolutely beautiful day in Northern California, and we were ready and set to charge our way into another Redwoods area *Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP area and on into Oregon with our excitement level maxed out at this point. We topped off the gas tank and hit the road running. We also noticed that the California Redwoods parks are considered both the National Park and State Park areas.
This particular area of Redwoods is named for an American explorer, Jedediah Strong Smith, who traveled across the lands of the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific coast in the early 1800s. There is also the Smith River that provides such elegant beauty and crystal clear waters.
Side Note: There are a couple things we noticed as we traveled further north along the coast into northern California, Oregon, and Washington. There are several homeless (or look like they were homeless) folks wandering around the streets, parking lots, roadways and highways. We also noticed several folks appear to live in their vehicles and made lengthy stays at every rest area we stopped at. A few rest areas had posted signs that stated parking in this lot for only a minimum number of hours are allowed or vehicle will be towed. We also noticed that free coffee was offered at the rest stops in Oregon and Washington. Another thing we made a note of and something to be aware of is know where your rest stops or bathroom breaks are. The number of rest stops in California seems to be limited and the ones they do have several of them were closed. This is something to keep in mind as you travel on a road trip through California.
We could hardly believe our eyes
As we cruised through the massive Redwood National Park near the Klamath area, and again were in awe. From the enormous trees to the amazing shoreline beach vistas, it was a nature photographers dream.
We finally crossed the California border and into the beautiful state of Oregon. We drove down the roadway for a period of time this morning, and came upon a nice facility that was one of the Oregon Visitor Centers. We used the restrooms, browsed around the shelves full of pamphlets, brochures, and magazines about Oregon. We took a few info brochures, and then spoke with the woman working behind the counter and she provided us a few tips about the scenic stops and photo opportunities along the coast. These are some of those points of interest we made sure to stop and explore as they are described here:
Natural Bridge Cove: Trail
Port Orford Heads State Park
Heceta Head Lighthouse (Viewing area)
A quaint little farming town with an air museum with a large blimp hangar, cheese factories, and agriculture fields.
This little beach town was spectacular and was alive! It appeared quite busy for how small it is. Several folks crossing the roads, on sidewalks, restaurant parking lots were full, it seems this beach town jewel had it all going on! The beach is wide and offers quite a scenic treasure accompanied by the large rock formations and is home to the word’s third largest monolith Haystack Rock standing 235 feet high, home for birding and natural beauty wonder. This coastal area made for incredible filming scenes for several movies and films. Examples include The Goonies, Point Break, Free Willy, Overboard, Twilight movies and many more.
As we departed the Cannon Beach area we felt a little sad, as we really wanted to stay longer. But we knew we had to make our way on to Portland, which was our resting point for the night. We proceeded north on highway 101 and reached highway 26 which took us all the way into Portland and definitely did not disappoint, as it was quite a scenic roadway. We enjoyed glancing at the natural surroundings and tree lined road as well as the open fields as we watched the sun set.
We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day the next day. We woke up to a beautiful Portland morning and hit the road towards Seattle. We arrived in Seattle a handful of hours from Portland and prepared to make our way downtown to find parking. We pre-purchased baseball tickets to see the Seattle Mariners play on July 4th and it was a blast! The stadium was full of cheer, music, excitement, and patriotism!
Safeco Stadium 4th of July Fly over from McChord Field: C-17 Flyover: WOW!
The Seattle morning offered to us was unbelievable! Full sunshine, blue sky, gorgeous temperatures, and not the Washington temps I remember. (in a good way). (I lived on Whidbey Island, WA 20 years ago).
We walked around the city for a while, then filled the car up with gas and started our return trip. San Francisco was our final stop, return the rental car, and catch a flight home. But of course, before that flight departure, we took in another baseball game and saw the San Francisco Giants play ball! That was certainly a thrill to see! I don’t know how people watch the game when they have such a gorgeous view looking right back at them in the stadium!
Our road trip back through Oregon was sort of a detour path as a result of the fires on I-5 near and around the borders of Oregon and California. Our detour included taking us onto Highway 99 South through several beautiful open landscapes, Mt. Shasta, Diamond Peak Mt., and other gorgeous vistas for our viewing pleasure and an overnight resting stop in Eugene. To cap off the evening, we enjoyed a stunning sunset!
This coastal road trip was truly a remarkable experience for us! I remember always hearing about Highway 1 and PCH (Pacific Coast Highway); the scenic views, landscapes, and beautiful beach towns along the path. And I have only seen photos of places like Pebble Beach (or watching golf tournaments on TV), but for many years it was just a dream or a thought. It is remarkable that I have lived in the West between California and Washington for more than 20 years and have never driven this route. Well, now it’s not just a dream anymore, it became a reality for this wandering adventurer!
Thank you for reading!
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Avenue of the Giants brochure
California State Map
Oregon state printed informational material