8/9/2018 and 8/10/2018
More Wild Fires and Hiking Through Giant Redwoods
Thursday 8/9/2018 Our next stop is at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds RV Park in Ukiah, CA. It's a pretty basic campground just a little more than a parking lot but it has full hookups and we're just staying here for two nights. I phoned yesterday to make sure we were still able to camp here because this area is fairly close to the huge Mendocino Complex Fire. They said they were still open and not in the way of the fire but were very smoky. I decided to stay in spite of the smoke which we discovered was pretty heavy. In fact, as soon as we exited the freeway we saw that the fire crews were using a large section of the fairgrounds as their staging area. There were trailers set up for sleeping, dozens of tents and a large assortment of fire vehicles and equipments all through the parking area. After we arrived and set up the trailer we went for a drive to get fuel and something to eat. We found a small pizza restaurant nearby named Isi's that was very good. We enjoyed our pizza and just returned to the trailer for the evening to research something to do on Friday.
Friday 8/10/2018 I found that Ukiah is very close to a park with redwood trees called Montgomery Woods. It was supposedly only about 15 miles away so we decided to go for a hike through the Redwood Groves. It began as an ordinary two-lane road but shortly began getting narrower and narrower and full of steep, sharp curves. Because the truck is so wide, I had to drive very slow on this road but it was a little thrilling. It ended up taking us a lot longer than we thought because of the slow speed. We found the small parking lot at the beginning of a two-mile loop hike and we began walking. It turned out to be one of the best hikes we've taken. It was a nice soft pine needle trail through a thick forest full of huge redwood trees. The trees were magnificent but sadly we noticed that so many of them had been cut down probably over a hundred years ago. The groves were all named after early pioneers of the redwood trees. We did manage to get a little lost because it the trail wasn't as well marked as it could have been and we walked over a mile past the spot where we should have turned on the return loop. It turned into a 4 1/2 mile walk but we enjoyed it so much that it didn't matter. You'll notice me modeling next to the trees in several of the pictures, that's because I wanted you to get the full effect of just how large these trees are. At the beginning of the hike, they built a small patio with two picnic tables that we sat on for lunch. After lunch, we drove back into Ukiah and very close to our campground we saw a huge plume of thick white smoke. Luckily, the fire wasn't as close as it looked. After dinner at a small neighborhood restaurant, we just went back to the campground for the evening.
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