We had another awesome tiny kitchen meal of breakfast burritos and went about getting ready for hitching up. There were a few extra steps involved today because from our parking spot the sewer hose couldn’t reach the drain hole…oops. We had been so focused on being perfectly centered in the spot that it actually worked against us. So we just hitched up and William backed in several more feet and we did a real quick dump of the tanks. We drove on having no clue where we wanted to stay. We were very open to the idea of dry camping for a few days since the holding tanks were empty, fresh tank was full and battery charged! However, as soon I saw a sign informing us that the Avenue of the Giants was a few miles ahead we quickly decided to take the scenic 30ish mile drive and hoped for a camping spot along the way.
The minute we left the 101 the scenery changed from open farmlands and hills to a mystical, dark forest of redwoods. The air became much cooler and smelt of delicious wet pine and that smell that only ancient forests have. After only a bit of driving we pulled over to a little parking lot that had the Immortal Tree, a gift shop, and offered registration for the Ancient Redwoods Campground.
We were told to pick any open spot, and we discovered that there were only about 5 other campers so that was easy. The place is very relaxed and couldn’t be more different than the uppity RV park in Eureka. The sites are right alongside the redwood stands, but are in a clearing so we still have full sun.
Perfect. We went for a short bike-ride on the Avenue of the Giants, but it didn’t have a bike lane, and while the big rigs were being courteous and going way around us, we still decided to return and drive out a ways to explore more of the sights. Shep got to go for his daily run and even splashed in a little waterhole though so it was a success.
A few miles down the road we were flagged down and told that the whole middle stretch of the Avenue was closed off for a marathon. We were told to get back on the 101 and drive the 15 miles to Myer’s Flat (the only real town in these woods) and that the road would open back up at 3. Alright, we can work with that. Myer’s Flat was tiny and almost everything was closed. We did see the famous Drive-Through tree and some of the other trees and wood-carvings there.
We paid the $6 but were too afraid to drive the truck through. It was a 7x7ft opening and our truck is exactly 7 ft tall! No thanks. Zo walked through instead. Better anyways, if you ask me.
We searched the map we were given earlier for nearby trail heads, but everything we wanted to see was closed off to traffic. Grrrr. We got turned around a few times and were getting frustrated when we discovered the Founder’s Grove. It was 1:30ish so we decided to explore it until 3 so we could take the scenic drive back to camp. First we had a snack on a bench with a lovely few of the forest and the actual Founder’s Tree. We were hungry for more than nuts and crackers but would have to wait until we got back. Turns out it was easy to spend a few hours walking among these glorious trees and reading a bit about them. Zo began squawking and squealing real loudly, cutting through the serenity of the forest….another little kiddo was around also and they proceeded to do some call and response. Too funny. She also enjoyed running into all the “tree caves” as she called them: redwoods with carved out trunks, many of which were mostly charcoal inside from all the fires lit inside. We stood by some of the fallen giants and were amazed by the mass of their gnarled roots. One of them, the Dyerville Giant, was as old as Rome. For a few moments it began to sprinkle ever so lightly while we were in the forest. Redwoods grow in such a way that they create the most picturesque rays of light that shine through the canopies….so add raindrops to that and the beauty was otherworldly. None of our pictures do it justice, but we took a lot!
True to their word, the road opened up at 3 on the dot and we made it home quickly. I threw a frozen pizza in the toaster oven (it works!) and also whipped up some cold pesto potato salad with leftovers. Quite satisfying. I took my shower bag to the camp showers while Zoe got a bath in the trailer. She was covered in bark residue from climbing through the hollow trunks of trees. Quite a keepsake, but we decided to wash it off anyways 😉
Great internet here, but no cable. We normally wouldn’t watch it anyways but it was Sunday, which means new episode of The Walking Dead. Boohoo. Oh well, William can download it tomorrow morning to save for the right time. We had another cozy evening and Zoe did great playing quietly in her room until she was ready to sleep. No plans for tomorrow, though we would still like to dry camp sometime soon. Excited to see the rest of the beautiful drive through the redwoods. I remember coming through here when I was a kiddo, and it so great to share in the wonder with my own little one.
With love from the forest,