Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Awesome Redwoods, Ferndale and Best Road Trip Ever!

Today we are going to the Humbolt State Redwood Park and it is IMPRESSIVE.  One of the things I discovered is there is so much canopy overhead that photos do not really come out well, but a photo cannot really do justice to these magnificent trees.
The Eel River on the drive up to Humbolt State Park

I asked my friend why it was called the Eel and she said she thought it used to actually have eels in it.  This river flash flooded in the 1960's and wiped out small towns located near the park.  What was amazing was how high the water must have been to have gotten up to those points!  Signs were along the roadways warning we were in a flood area.
A Flood Warning Sign
My photos of the Redwoods are poor quality.  Stupidly, I had left my wonderful digital camera on my table back home.  So I grabbed some "Fun Savers" but found out by the time I paid to develop these poor photos I could have purchased an inexpensive digital camera for about the same amount of money.  I did discover the HD Fun Savers took much better pictures but could not find them in Redway.
A fallen Redwood at the Park Entrance

Redwoods only exist in a 45 x 250 mile long swath along the Coast of California.  They need certain climatic conditions to exist and one of those is fog.  They do not have deep root systems and gather most of their moisture from fog.  Because their root systems are shallow and they live in a fairly wet zone, they are prone to falling over from wind and other factors.  Can you imagine one of these giants falling?  The largest redwood ever recorded  was in the Humbolt State Park and it fell sometime in the 1990's I believe.  They could hear it for over a mile and it was so loud they thought there had been a train crash.  Another tree had fallen and had hit it on the way down.
A View of the Canopy

Forest Floor in the Redwoods showing the Ferns

 Small Redwood is growing out of the burl on the roots of the mature tree on the left.

I know now why there are preservationists who want to preserve the old growth forests, particularly old growth Redwood. Out of 1.8 million acres of  original redwood forests less than 82,000 acres of old growth remains!  It is spectacular with a very primordial feel.  Redwoods existed in the time of the dinosaur and the old tree I mentioned above that fell was a small burl redwood when Christ was born!  

And as I said my photos are poor and really do not do justice to these magnificent trees.  While we were walking through the redwoods I decided I needed a pine cone to add to my trip scrapbook.  I could not see a single one.  Finally my friend asked what I was looking at.  She bent down and brushed through the undergrowth for a minute and handed me one.  Turned out the Largest Trees I've ever seen have the smallest pine cones I've ever seen - the size of a grape!  Well it fits into my scrapbook much better than one 2 feet long! 

The next day we did a road trip, making a loop first to Ferndale and then down a small highway that ran along the coast for quite a ways, through some really nice ranching country, and back through the forest to Home Base.
Ferndale had a lot of old dairy farms (and some current ones) and the town itself has preserved a lot of their Victorian structures along with the pioneer history.

Ferndale Mansion
Home in Ferndale
View of street and Church in Ferndale
Ferndale has quite a few shops that specialize in 'yesteryear' goods.  What I learned is that quite a few people are making a living off of stuff that I threw out years ago!!  We ate lunch that had a small little cafe in the back of their second-hand craft/art store and then went for our road trip down the coast.

First Glimpse of the Ocean as the highway drops off the cliffs down to seaside.  It was a pretty big thrill for a Wyoming Girl to whom the phrase 'body of water' means a horse tank!

Ocean view from the Highway.  Interesting Large rock in Ocean don't you think? 
Once we dropped down on the highway, we had high hills to our left and the ocean to the right.  Every so many feet there would be a sign that said WARNING! Tsunami Area!  You can see one of those in this photo.  Cattle were grazing on the hills to our left which was a surprise to me, that they would have pastures right up to the ocean's edge.

Now we are coming back up the hills above the 
Tsunami areas.  Here is an old corral sitting above the Ocean.
Cattle grazing in the hills.  I just loved this area of California.   It was pretty remote and was full of ranches and the kids all must belong to 4-H because I saw a lot of 4-H signs just like you see in most rural areas of Wyoming (I spent 14 straight years the last week of August in a camper at the Wyoming State Fair.  I have been bitten, kicked, and peed on by every type of 4-H/FFA project imaginable).  These ranches were pretty remote and the towns were very small, maybe 150 to 300 people.  I could easily move here and feel right at home!
This is where we dropped down into a valley to a little town called Petrolia.
Petrolia is the site were one of the first oil wells in the United States was located back in the 1860's.  They had a sign up pointing out that fact. 

This sign commemorated the old Pioneer Cemetery at Petrolia. It said it was about four miles south of here and sounded like it would have been a very interesting place to walk through.  We are 30 miles from Ferndale and this is the first town we have seen, very small.
As we drove further, the countryside began to change.  It became drier and more open.  Here is a shot of some horses grazing.  I'm not sure what is on the fence post but I think it is a pair of gloves.  Perhaps left behind accidentally while fixing fence.

What in the World?  A short ways down from the horses we saw this! A ZEBRA!  Now don't you wonder how in the world this zebra got to this place in Calfornia and why?  A mystery not to be solved!

I think the whole drive down the coast was about 60 miles or so and in that drive we only saw about 2 small towns.  Some tucked in valleys between the mountains that looked very "Vermont" like you see in pictures of that area.  Just Lovely and I enjoyed every minute of it.  It is filed in my Memory Bank Under "Best Road Trip Ever!"

Next blog - My day at Shelter Cove and the Beach


  1. I'm going to be seeing the Redwoods tomorrow, and I can't wait. Thanks for the information.

  2. ooo I've always wanted to see the Redwoods! What a great trip you have had!

  3. AHHHH! Finally I get to see the Redwoods! Thank you for the delightful trip!


  4. If you drive down the coast to Hearst Castle you will see herds of zebras. It's a beautiful drive. Welcome to California. Hope you enjoy your visit.