Monday, July 26, 2010

July 22 -- Jedidiah Smith State Park, Redwood State and National Park, California

Redwoods -- some cool facts: they can grow to 380 ft (that's over a 20 story building), be as old at 2000 years, take in 550 gallons of water a day. Their roots extend 60 feet (thats like 4 of our Honda CRVs in a row) and 'interlock' underground with each other to form a network that stabilizes them in high winds. They have bark up to a foot thick. These lifeforms are truly wonderful to behold.

Within a few mintues of the Califonia border we started seeing the majestic Redwoods. Driving into the State park was stunning and our site was carved into a spacious area under a few of these giants. I think this was the best campsite we have ever had. It felt like we were being guarded by stewards who had seen centuries go by and were now sheltering us. As we slept under these trees I thought about time and what a scale it is. Our lives and experiences are but a speck when I think of Yellowstone Volcano. It errupted 640,000 years ago and the earth's crust moved throughout its eruptions so there are calderas all along the western US. They say at somepoint as the crust shifts, Canada will end up over the Yellowstone Volcano. This kind of timespan is mind-blowing to consider. Sleeping under a tree that could be over 1000 years old or 2000 years old is a smaller scale but still mind boggling. These trees were starting their life at the time of Christ and they are still here today. Only 3% of the Redwoods remain from logging and clearing. I'm thankful even this much was saved so we can experience their grandeur.

After we got settled , we went on a Ranger talk and the girls got started on another ranger program and got their California State Junior Ranger pin. Jessica was not too excited about the giant banana slug but we got to see a couple up close and all the kids were fascinated. We then went for a drive through a road winding through the forest -- sometimes so narrow to be one lane where they "fit" the road between the trees. This was one of the best scenic drives of our trip through the Redwoods.

We got to Crescent City and got some groceries. After dinner, we went to the Ranger Campfire and slideshow about the area and animals. The girls got free hot chocolate which they loved. Sophia was tired and we left the show early. It was good Tom remembered flashlights as it was pitch black to walk back to our camper.

As we went to sleep , we've never experienced such "quiet". You could not hear cars or other noises. I tried not to think of the bats or flying squirrels that were likely out and about. :-)

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