City Escapes: Redwood Forest

Nestled north along the California coast are some of the most enchanting trees in the world. Redwood National Park thrives in a warm micro-climate along the Pacific Ocean and in this rainforest are some of the tallest and oldest trees on Earth tower overhead.

En route from San Francisco to Portland, the plan was to make one night’s detour in this enchanted forest. We split from the 101 to wind along Avenue of the Giants where sequoias and redwoods provide a shaded brush cover and as far as you can see are endless thick towers on a red forest bed.

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Avenue of the Giants

A roadside visitor center displays the center cut of a fallen redwood and tracks history along its circular gridlines. The Vikings find the Americas — this tree was standing. Oxford University is founded — this tree was standing. The Civil War, the Great Depression, invention of the Internet — this tree was standing.

The oh, so wise and tall trees

It was late in the season when we headed up this way for a camping expedition in Redwood National Park, so many of the grounds were closed — but we did find one open site at Elk Prairie Campground. Befittingly, just before we arrived we passed a large, sturdy herd of elk.

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Our campsite for the evening

The state animal of California is the bear and while we haven’t seen one yet, which suits me swell, camping in this state takes bears and bear lockers (where humans store their food) very seriously. Apparently, these creatures have been known to remove a car windshield if there are enough goodies inside, but the lockers stow food safe from their paws.

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Morning view

The ferns and trees are so tall that our stuff was kept relatively dry through the evening’s rain.

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Pacific coastline

As the national park includes much of the northern coastline, this view awaited just west of our campground.