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 some of the tallest and oldest trees on Earth tower overhead.

En route from San Francisco to Portland, the plan was to make a 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 world history along its annual rings. The Vikings travel to the Americas; this tree was standing. Oxford University is founded; this tree was standing. The Civil War, the Great Depression, the invention of the Internet; this tree was standing. It should be noted that this tree fell over independently and was not cut for the purposes of display.

It was late in the season when we headed up for camping in Redwood National Park, as 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 well, camping in this state takes bears and bear lockers (where humans store their food) very seriously. These furry creatures have been known to remove a car windshield if there are enough goodies inside, but lockers stow food safe from their paws.

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Morning view

The ferns and trees are so tall that our belongings were 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. I could have sworn I heard the waves rolling in the night.