Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vacation Day 5
Redwood Forest Day 2

[Redwood Trees, Del Norte State Park, California]

Today was the day we really planned this coastal trip around: going to spend a day in the Redwood Forests of N. California. We first drove down to Trees of Mystery, a comercialized slice of classic American road-trip.

Trees of Mystery is cool. From the 1960s voice recordings in redwood boxes along the way that explain things, to the named trees, and Paul Bunyan carvings. They've modernized with the Sky Trail: a tram you can take up through the tall trees to the top of a little mountain to see the views all around.

We took the sky tram up, then walked the 1 mile trail back down. Be forwarned, when they say the trail is for "advanced hikers" they mean it. I thought they were just saying that to keep the motorhome-bound pavement hikers from accidentally going down a real trail, but no, it really is some pretty advanced hiking. Very steep downward trails on which both of my girls fell down on their butts a couple of times, in spite of the holding-on-to-the-rope thing.

We had a great time exploring all of their trails with wierd signs and wierd carvings and even wierder recorded explanations. The creepiest thing was the 'Cathedral Tree' which had creepy 1960's organ music with a guy singing "I think that I shall never see a poem so lovely as a tree..." My wife knows that whole poem by Joyce Kilmer from memory but we'd never heard anyone singing it before. A very religious experience.

(Just kidding...)

After a day spent there we ate at the Forest Cafe, not to be confused with the Rain Forest Cafe. My daughter had read about it on some brochure and was hoping that it would be "really cool" like he famous Rainforest Cafe. Well, it was cool, but in a very unique way. Half the dining room was under water and the other half was under the forest canopy. We couldn't quite get used to eating lunch under a duck's butt.

But the food was the best food they've got anywhere around the Trees of Mystery. In fact, it is the only food they've got anywhere around the Trees of Mystery.

After this we decided to spend the afternoon on the beach. This was our "more serious" beach trip, whereas yesterday was our more casual one. We planned to spend the whole afternoon at the beach and basically we did. The beach was a really pretty one, that isn't quite on the maps so I don't know what they call it. It was about a mile or two north of Trees of Mystery at the very southern tip of the Del Norte State Park, near a campground (also not on the map) called SOMETHING lagoon. If you are ever traveling up there, don't worry, you'll find it. It's the only beach along 101 within 15 mile either direction.

This is a small, but very beautiful beach with rocks out in the water. There is enough sand to build sand castles, and here we built our main sand castle of the summer after strolling up and down the beach for several hours taking photos of birds, and rocks and waves and other interesting things.

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