The Redwood Coast, Northern California
8/11/2018 to 8/14/2018
A Beautiful Hike Through Giant Redwoods and Fern Covered Canyons
Saturday 8/11/2018 and Sunday 8/12/2018 We wanted to make sure we were able to see more of the Giant Redwoods and the northern California coastal area seems to be the best place. I made reservations for four nights at a small campground called Widow White Creek RV Park in McKinleyville, CA. It was nothing special, but pretty close to the Redwood National Forest which is at the very tip of coastal northern California. Since we were further north and very close to the ocean the weather was a lot cooler than we were used too. We must have become used to the hot, dry, high temperatures of southern California because now anything below 70 degrees feels cold to us. Once we were set up we went out for fuel and food. The rest of the day and all day Sunday we just relaxed.
Monday 8/13/2018 Today we drove about 35 miles from our campground. We left about 8:30 this morning and it took us about 45 minutes to reach the first Visitor’s Center in Kuchel, CA. We just asked for some hiking trails information and then we drove to the second Visitor’s Center which is in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. This is where we decided to park and start our ten-mile round trip hike on The James Irvine Trail. I like to hike trails that have a reward at the end (and no, kids I’m not talking about ice cream). This trail ends at the Pacific Ocean and then to return you walk through an area called Fern Canyon. It was pretty chilly this morning when we began the hike but after a short uphill walk, we were ready to shed the jackets. It’s an extremely beautiful hike through dense fern undergrowth and tremendously tall Redwood Trees. It took us about three hours to walk to the ocean where we had lunch on a picnic table and then walked a short distance to the sandy beach. It really isn’t a beach for swimming because it’s too cold and the waves were big. But it was nice to walk along the shore and watch the waves. It was very foggy and cloudy today so the pictures near the beach aren’t that great. We turned around after this and started the hike back. We walked through Fern Canyon which has a very shallow creek and you can walk on the rocks or on the different wooden planks the park had installed so visitors can walk down the middle of the creek. Both sides of the creek have walls covered in ferns and made for a very gorgeous walk. Steven Spielberg used Fern Canyon to film a scene for his 1997 “Jurassic Park” sequel. "Dinosaurs pursue Dieter Stark, through the lush canyon before devouring him and turning the tranquil, clear waters a bloody red." At the end of Fern Canyon, there is an uphill section that takes you back to The James Irvine Trail. This is where we almost stepped on a Banana Slug. See the picture below. It’s always funny how long the trail feels on the way back when it’s exactly the same distance you hiked to begin with. It took us about six hours to complete the hike and we were feeling the pain. After climbing back into the truck we took a short drive to another scenic tree called simply “The Big Tree”. I guess nobody could come up with a name for it. We walked a short way to see the tree and took a few pictures but it was full of a couple busloads of college students and we couldn’t really get a great picture. Lastly, we drove the remainder of the scenic drive through the park and then returned to the campground. Total hiking miles according to Rose's FitBit was 14.25. I probably posted too many pictures below but this was one of the most scenic hikes we've ever been on.
Tuesday 8/14/2018 We didn't have anything planned today and it was a good thing. After hiking over 14 miles yesterday both of us were pretty sore in the morning. We decided not to do any other hikes today. We ended up driving a short distance into town to find a laundromat and wash a load of clothes. After that, we drove a few miles to Clam Beach which is a county park and hung out by the water for a while.
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