We left Crater Lake for Grants Pass and then south on Highway 199 into California, the northern tip of the so called Redwood Highway. We came here to see more of Mother Nature’s magic, the majestic redwood trees. I’ve always wanted to see these bad boys.
Our home for 5 days was Panther Flat Campground, just north of a concentration of redwoods near Crescent City, California. It is a Forest Service campground located in Six Rivers National Forest. This shady, secluded, first come first serve campground with the Smith River running through it was spectacular. We had no trouble finding a nice site. Boondocking at its finest!
We saw our first Redwood here, albeit a small one. There was a swimming hole on the river and people fly fishing for salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. I could have stayed here longer but alas we had made reservations at some Oregon State Parks that we, out of necessity, made months before while sitting in John and Marcia’s driveway in Sierra Vista.
Raise your hand if you have ever heard of a plant called Darlingtonia. (I did not raise my own hand). Just a mile from the campground was a short botanical trail leading to a Darlingtonia bog.
I didn’t see any of these cool plants consuming food but they are said to be carnivorous. In my younger days I would have attempted to feed one of the plants an insect to see if I could get it to eat. I can remember as a little boy on Clark Road feeding ants to a pet spider. I don’t do that any more.
I thought this was interesting. Along the Darlingtonia Bog trail was a hole in the ground roped off. It’s an old miners test pit. I guess they didn’t worry about being sued back in the day by people who hurt themselves by falling into the hole.
It’s time we check out the redwoods. We made two excursions. The first was a drive on Howland Hill Road which meanders through an old growth redwood forest. It is part of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and ends up in Crescent City. The drive itself was spectacular. I wish we had taken more and better pictures of the drive. I would not want to tow Shiny here.
Even better was walking through the old growth redwood forest on some of the trails. Here is a slide show for your perusal.
It’s hard to imagine with pictures just how immense these trees are. Sue is standing on a stump that had to have been 15 feet across. And this was just a medium size tree, they get twice that big!
Our second foray into the old growth redwoods was also part of Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park. It was off of Walker Road and included trails through dense groves of mammoth trees. It was a sight that Susan and I will always remember. Incredible is all I can say.
Our walks through the old growth redwood forests was an experience everyone should have at least once. The rotting wood of redwood trees that had fallen haphazardly over the ages, the lush growth especially the huge ferns gave it a jungle like feeling. I expected to feel the vibration of a T-Rex footstep at any time. A Compsognathus leaping at me from behind an overturned redwood tree root. Maybe I’ve watched to many Jurassic Park movies.
Here are a few more pictures that Susan took on our walks through the old growth redwood forests.
Our decision to wander among the redwoods came at a cost. The most expensive gas I’ve ever bought. But it is California after all and I would not change a thing.
We wasted some digital bandwidth on some silly selfies here amongst the redwoods. So therefore I must post them. Yes I know Susan is just the cutest thing.
I have to mention the Peeling Madrone trees. We first noticed them when we visited Crater Lake. I didn’t know what to make of them at first. I thought the trees were sick what with their bark peeling off like wallpaper. Back home in New Hampshire a Birch tree shedding bark like this was usually not a good thing. As it turns out bark shedding from a Madrone tree is a natural process. Strange as that sounds.
And last but not least, a new bird for us. A Steller’s Jay.
On to Oregon!