The Big Trip Out West
Though I haven’t even been home for more than a month, I’ve been pretty busy. Almost immediately after coming home, my family and Julia set out on a great adventure west. We wanted to see some of our nation’s most beautiful parks during the Centennial of the National Parks Service. Our goal was to visit the Badlands, the Corn Palace, Custer’s State Park, Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Craters of the Moon, Crater Lake, Redwoods State Park, Yosemite, King’s Canyon, Sequoias, Moab, Canyonlands, Arches, the world’s best cinnamon roll at Glen Haven, and Trail Ridge Road. But even the perfect plan can have its bumps and amazing surprises. Come along on the journey, as I’ll be posting each day (and roughly each park) throughout the next few months.
Fighting a Storm of Storms
We survived the storms from last night! Julia and I were excited to get to take a dip in the pool for a change, but the water was so cold. Therefore, we ended up sitting in the hot tub before we were interrupted by a car salesman who wanted to join us. We quickly skedaddled out of there and hurried off to breakfast.
After breakfast, Zach and I headed out toward the Pacific Ocean. It wouldn’t count if we got all the way to the west coast without touching the ocean there! After dipping in, Zach climbed up on a log to take his signature “gun shot.” Since the wind was blowing so hard, it was difficult for him to get his grip!
After he regained his balance, I climbed up on the rock too and looked out into the angry ocean. The waves were so massive!
Jedediah Smith State Park
Upon leaving our hotel, we drove toward Jedediah Smith State Park where we got directions at a visitor’s center. I even found a baby redwood here, which they said would grow a foot a year! Unfortunately, it ended up dying once I had planted it back home. Our directions told us to follow 199 over two bridges to the Stout Memorial Grove. Granted, we were warned that this bit of the forest had the possibility of being quickly shut down due to the tropical storm.
The Stout Memorial Grove didn’t have the largest redwood trees that we saw on our trip, but it was one of the most memorable hikes.
This bit of forest is very densely forested with redwoods with a thick canopy of ferns. We heard that it is usually a quiet, peaceful forest, but the storm transformed it. What speed of wind did it take to move 100 foot tall redwood trees? To bang the large trunks together and cause branches the size of normal tree trunks crashing to the ground? Terrified, we huddled as close to the large trees as we could as the branches continued to fall. Was it dangerous? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. Were we lucky? Absolutely.
As we left the trail, a ranger pulled up and began evacuating the trail with the use of a megaphone. Since a tree had fallen on the road (it takes a WEEK to clear a trail), we headed out through the east side.
Del Nonte and Humboldt Redwoods State Parks
Our next stop was the Del Nonte State Park where we tried to hike the Lady Bird Johnson. Totally soaked, we tried to hike into the old grove. But we only made it to the little shelter at the beginning of the trail in our damp raincoats. All of us bundled up in the car and headed out on the US-101 S over the lagoon pools.
That afternoon, we drove through Eureka and passed the Yacht Club and old Victorian houses. In addition, Main Street was just as amazing and was full of many antique shops and book stores.
We took an auto tour at the Avenue of the Giants in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and stopped at Drury-Chaney Grove, Dyerville, and Weott.
Because of their location along the lowlands of the river, Weott and Dyerville were swamped by the 1955 floods. At Dyerville, the water rose almost 20 feet in an hour. After we left Weott, there is also an incredible campground there that I’d love to go back to again!
For our dinner, we stopped at a tiny pizzeria called The Avenue Café. I had a feta, spinach, tomato, and basil pizza, while the others split a bowl of clam chowder and a pepperoni, cilantro, and jalapeño pizza. Amazing, amazing food!
Be kind to one another,