Today was the day I had patiently waited for. The day where I would do nothing other than bask in one of our planets greatest treasures. The redwoods. I had a full foggy, damp day to take it all in.
A dark, seclusive morning greeted me at Humbolt Redwoods State Park. Again I barely got any sleep, maybe three hours total. I just couldn’t get comfortable no matter what position I tried and I haven’t had a pillow since Corona California. If you’ve ever tried to ball up some clothes and use that as a pillow then you’ll know the hardness of the folded material and the discomfort that you experience from that. My neck was cramped and contorted all night, and that mummy style sleeping bag just locks you in place. I’ve got a design for a warm and flexible sleeping bag in my head that I may have to invent when I get home. Getting out of the tent and moving around felt great. Two things were on my mind right away. Coffee and wi-fi. I knew I could find coffee, but to even look for wi-fi in these remote mountain towns seemed like a joke. In my search for a good cup of joe I made my way south to the little town of Miranda CA. The town was typical for this area, small, sleepy, and blanketed in pines and fog, but beautiful. Oddly enough, the main drag featured a small organic coffee stand. Walla! While ordering the coffee I asked the gals serving it if there was any place even remotely close that would have wi-fi. They said the market right across the street had it. “What!” I thought. I headed over there bought a muffin and a slim-Jim for breakfast and inquired about the wi-fi. It turns out that the tiny town has a plan where you can purchase it for two bones a day. Perfect. Miranda Market didn’t have any seats, so I popped the Goose up on the center stand, whipped out the ol’ laptop, put it on the tank bag, and busted a post out right in the parking lot as fast as I could.
Next I was off to the state park, again, for the time of my life. At the visitors center, I asked where the biggest of the big trees were located. They told me about founders grove, four miles up the road. Off I went, in search of the giants. Founders Grove was started by a group of folks that recognized the value of this large tract of land that has never experienced logging. Not many of these are left. In fact only four percent of the original redwood forests still exist. It disturbs me deeply to think that man has chopped and hacked his way through ninety-six percent of these magnificent trees, just for a quick buck, not thinking about these thousands of years it took those trees to get that size. It’s pitiful. Anyway, the only thing I was there to take, were pictures. I hope these forests stand forever. The founders grove trail is about a half mile long and has more than enough huge trees to keep you entertained. The sign at the beginning reads “trail .53 miles- time 30 minutes”. It took me over two hours to make it through there. The giants in that part of the forest were to spectacular to just glance at. I wanted to get a feel for them and yes, on more than one occasion, I hugged them :). There is one massive specimen of a tree in that grove that is so big it’s unimaginable. This monsters name is the Dyerville Giant and it dwarfs the others around it. It almost seems to be from another planet. Here’s the kicker though. It’s laying on its side. The Dyerville Giant fell in 1991 and, at that time, was the words tallest tree at 370 feet high. For those folks back home reading this who are familiar with the Maryland Heights cliff in Harpers Ferry, the cliff edge at the top is only 330 feet high. Imagine that! Walking the length of the Dyerville giant is like walking beside a huge, round wall. You’ve got to see it to believe it, so everyone pack your things right now and go see these trees. I can only say so much about their splendor.
My hike through founders grove eventually ended and I headed back to camp. It was already getting dark, but I had time for another half mile trail that is right across the street from my campground. Like founders grove, it includes a ton of giants with their own unique awesomeness. I stayed in that part of the forest until dark, soaking up as much of the redwoods as possible. At sunset I was off to the nearby town of Myers Flat for some grub. Myers Flat is even smaller than Miranda. Upon entering the town you notice a sign that says “Myers Flat elevation 204, population 200” I grabbed some food at the market and stopped in at the one and only saloon for one beer. This was to be my celebratory beer for concluding the length of the journey before returning home. I had a corona and the folks that ran the place hooked me up with a huge bowl of beans and rice and even gave me a huge jar to take with me. The folks in Northern California are completely different from Southern California. They acknowledge you and want to talk to you. Folks in So Cal give you a fake smile and do what they can to cut you off in traffic and avoid eye contact. Needless to say, I now had my favorite part of California nailed. It was almost like being home, with bigger trees.
My day ended with another cold shower from one of California’s State parks. One would think, that paying $35 to pop a tent up and a dollar for the shower itself, that the shower would at least be warm. If it weren’t for the trees, this would be the biggest ripoff known to man. ( note to California – Either lower your cost of camping, in a tent, in your state parks or turn up the damn heat in your showers. You, the State of California, should be ashamed of yourself.)
I’ll continue to post until the day I make it home and then I may keep posting. Who knows?