Thursday, August 28, 2014

California's Redwood National and State Parks

The Redwood National and State Parks is actually a whole series of parks in Northern California, that you drive next to along Highway 101.

The parks are located about an hour from Carl's family, so this was our first big stop for our trip.

First stop - the first ranger station we encountered so we could get their NPS passports stamped and pick up a Junior Ranger booklet and some patches for their blankets. It wasn't very bust at the ranger station, so one of the rangers was nice enough to give us our very own presentation all about elk antlers.

Nice, since we were about to see the largest grouping of elk we'd ever seen up to that point.

The trees were incredible.

These are coastal redwoods, so they are different than the redwoods we (Carl and I) have seen in Muir Woods, just outside of San Francisco.

Our photos don't even begin to do them justice.

We had a wonderful time walking through the forest.

Even though it was a summer weekend, we hardly encountered anyone else on our hikes.

Which was perfect for pretending we were stranded in the forest on Endor, riding on a stolen speeder and trying to escape the Stormtroopers (Return of the Jedi was filmed here back in the 80s). Can't you just see the speeder ducking low to race through these criss-crossed trees?

We especially loved the trees you could walk inside of - how often can you stand inside a tree?!

We also worked on the boys' Junior Ranger activities.

We visited a couple of different parks that are included in the Redwood National and State Parks - some even included beaches.

We didn't get out and explore any of the beaches, though - that would happen later in the day.

Along the way, we visited the giant Paul Bunyon statue at the Trees of Mystery.

The redwoods were just beautiful.

And so impressive! The tallest trees in the world are here. Its hard to capture their height, but in this picture, we are nowhere even close to the tops of the trees, and you can see how my small my husband and son are compared to them.

The boys had already spent some time there with their cousins before Carl and I joined them, and they were thrilled to be the 'experts' who showed us all the highlights. How often does that happen? It was very sweet.

Our last stop in the parks was the Jedidiah Smith park, for more beautiful trees.

And to turn in their completed ranger booklets. We just love the Junior Ranger programs!

We loved the Redwoods.

And one of the best parts? Its free!

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