The Coastal Redwoods are such a welcome change. Everything is shaded and cool. Even though I’m only a short drive from the ocean it feels like I’m so far removed from where I‘ve been. I stop first at Richardson Grove State Park. There’s a day use fee but the forest ranger lets me through for an hour to check out the Visitor’s Center (so from now on I won’t make u-turns whenever I see a fee). Even though it’s right by the freeway it doesn’t feel like it. Everything is deserted early in the morning and that’s the way I like it. I like meandering around the primeval landscape and reading signs about why the Coastal Redwoods are so unique.
I make my way on to the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods. It’s a fantastic idea in theory and the drive is a beautiful one, but a trip to the Visitor’s Center proves just how overrun the place is. Something about wandering a path with a pack of ten year olds running over the tops of the fallen trees is not only distracting, but kind of sad. I’m sure there are places within the park where you can find solitude, and I think without it the trees become some tacky roadside attraction. I read a sign that described how the Redwoods are resillent to fire, insects, weather, but the worst thing for them is when the soil around their roots is compacted by thousands of tourists. It crushes their shallow roots, cutting off their water supply, and killing them slowly. So… again: Redwoods best seen in solitude. And there are other places along the coast much less touristy than the avenue. But a great drive.
The next stop is a brief detour over to Ferndale. I love Victorian architecture and the little town here has some intricate beautiful houses. Also, about five churches, which I can’t understand for such a small town. The shops are unique, but I’m hesitant to buy something I won’t use for such a long time that I’ll have to lug around the country. I content myself with capturing pictures of the colorful and lovely homes.