California 2022 - Day 2/3
On the Road
Jeremiah and I left Comfort Inn in Ukiah, California at 7:00am Pacific Time, and immediately went across the street to Starbucks. Coffee was greatly desired. Jeremiah then drove the remaining 3.5 hours to Redwood National Park via 101.
We came upon a beach right outside the park entrance, and exited the vehicle to walk down the sand to be closer to the water to admire the coastline. It was a beautiful beach that extended far down the horizon to a rocky cliff on the Northern end of the shore. It was not a swimming beach, there were several signs warning people to not go into the water because of a steep drop off. Nonetheless, it was beautiful to look at, and the sea air was sharp yet welcoming.
Lady Bird Johnson Trail
The trail is quite popular and has an unfortunately small parking lot, so we ended up driving up the road a bit and parking on the shoulder. We walked down hill back to the trail's parking lot. At the end of the lot, there's a ramp (not stairs, which I was pleasantly surprised about) that you go up to get to the bridge that goes over Bald Hill Road. The trail starts at the other end of the bridge.
One of the first giant trees you encounter has been burnt through. We took turns standing inside the tree and posing for photos. We could stretch our arms out, and we still didn't touch the sides of the inner tree!
There were a lot of sister trees (trees that start separately but grow into trees that share a base trunk). We also saw tropical looking leaves with pink flowers. Shout out to Lynnette Fox for helping us identify these flowers as rhododendrons!
We also saw what looked to be giant three-leaf clovers, but these ones had pink on the underside of their leaves. I was extremely fascinated with the "giant shamrocks" in the "giant woods", but it turns out they weren't clovers at all! They are called Redwood Sorrels. I learned that an easy way to tell the difference between shamrocks and sorrels are the shape of the leaves - shamrocks have rounded leaves and sorrels have heart shaped leaves. Learn something new every day!
On occasion, there would be a fallen tree along the trail. The park cut the trunks of the fallen trees so that you walked between the pieces of the trunk on the trail. We thought that was a pretty cool way to preserve as much of the tree as possible for natural decay/compost, as well as allowing the trail to remain accessible.
The trail was about a mile long, and was a loop - which is always nice so you don't have to turn around and go back whence you came. The uphill walk back to the car was honestly more difficult than the entire trail, ha!
Redwood Creek Overlook
We continued on in our original direction on Bald Hill Road, stopping at Redwood Creek Overlook. We didn't see a creek, but the view let's you take in the mountains and the distant ocean.
Bald Hill Road
We hopped back on Bald Hill Road, this time journeying back towards 101. Remember the questionable fenced area I mentioned earlier? We still don't know what it's for (sorry), but there was a herd of elk behind the fence, and so we pulled over so I could take photos. The herd included several fawns, they were absolutely adorable.
We turned back onto Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and found the trailhead for Corkscrew Tree. This was, by far, our favorite giant tree we saw in the park. For a short while it was just us, admiring the tree, but after bit another couple joined us at Corkscrew. We talked for a bit about cameras and photography, and then went our separate ways.
Two locals were having an argument at the bar. The woman was offended that the man didn't remember a night they shared together. The bartender was also quite obviously drinking behind the bar. As we closed our tab, the bartender tried to give us travel advice, but most of it was slurred. He mentioned driving down to the scenic road that goes along the river, driving through a brown gate, and going by the "Indian stuff" to find the mouth of the river. Unfortunately, we were never able to find this brown gate and "Indian stuff", as you can imagine.
After lunch, we went back out to 101 North, turning left onto Requa Road. Requa Road turns into Patrick J. Murphy Memorial Drive. This lead us up to Klamath River Overlook, where we got to see the mouth of the Klamath River as it flowed into the ocean. It was the first time either of us had seen a mouth of a river, and it was intriguing to see where fresh water met salt water.
We made our way back down to 101, this time heading South. We did end up turning on the scenic road the bartender was telling us about, and we found a few side roads that were interesting, but we did not find the "landmarks" he told us to search for. Who knows, maybe he was playing a prank on a couple of tourists.
We continued on 101 South, making our way back through the park. Right outside the park is a place called Elk Meadow Cabins, where there was a different herd of elk than the one we saw previously. We stopped to take photos, and then continued onto 101 South.
Jeremy and I decided to book a hotel room at the Comfort Inn in a town called Eureka, California. It was okay, I think we'll try somewhere else if we are ever in Eureka again.
After showering and getting refreshed, we went out to dinner at a seafood restaurant called Jack's Seafood. The food was delicious, and funny enough, the couple in the booth behind Jeremy was the same couple we had conversed with at Corkscrew Tree. Funny how life works sometimes!
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Photographer, visual artist, wife, mother to five fur-babies, and travel enthusiast.