Here be Giants!

We set off from Gold Beach and head towards the really cool sounding Pistol River, it isn’t much to see though so we blow right past it and as we come upon Brookings (the last real town before California) we see a sign saying ‘Oregon Redwood Trail’. We take the turn and find ourselves on a winding road that just keeps getting smaller. After a while it’s no more than a gravel road lined with deep, water filled, potholes. After yet another while the GPS proclaims we’re out of road, but since the signs proclaim otherwise we press on. And so, after a good 25 minutes of gravel driving we finally get to turnabout offering parking. We meet a couple of elderly hikers who point us in the right direction and we’re off to see out first redwoods.

They’re every bit as impressive as we’d hoped. It’s a bit like being a kid again, running around, only seeing the legs of the parents. The temperature is very nice, warm, yet shady under all the trees so that we don’t get too sweaty during the hike, which was about a mile and a half I think (~2.5 km) in rather hilly terrain. A thing that struck us as weird was the almost absolute silence; we heard only a few birds now and then. We later saw an informational sign that explained that the lack of sunlight prevented many larger animals from living there, hence the eerie silence.

Once out of the forest we continued on into California. First stop in there was Crescent City where we had our first American Chinese food. Not that good, but not that bad either. We also got our first fortune cookies, Jonna got ‘An interesting sports opportunity is in your near future’ (mmm, right…) and I got ‘Admire those who succeed and learn from their success’. So much for ancient chinese wisdom.

Well, the town also had a small aquarium which touted a shark petting pool so we went ahead and signed up for a tour (you weren’t allowed in if not in a tour because of the shark petting. Most of the tour was more of what we’d already seen at the Seattle aquarium, with the exception of a sea slug (very big!) and a few rather cool deep sea fishes that almost all of them had white eyes because of the rapid pressure change caused by being caught. The guide explained however that the whiteness was only temporary and that they regenerate the cornea underneath and the shed the white cornea. Rather cool if you ask me.

Now it was shark petting time and we were presented with a few small leopard sharks swimming around in a shallow pool. So it was mostly a matter of reaching down as they went by. Kindof cool but nothing extraordinary really.

The tour ended with a little sea lion show, where two very active sea lions did a bunch of tricks like sliding down a waterslide, catching rings and waving their flippers. Good fun!

After Crescent City is where Redwood country really begins and we drive along gawking at the trees that enclose the highway. Amazingly beautiful! We also catch a glimpse of ‘Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox‘, an equally amazingly hideous giant tree carving, as we drive by. We stop a couple of times to walk some of the numerous short trails along the road (I simply cannot get enough of these redwoods!). The whole are we were currently in is called ‘Redwood National Park’ and as we are about to leave it we make a final stop as a sort of goodbye and walk what we thought was a short trail, 3.5 miles later (~5 km) we arrive back at the car, rather spent and drive the last bit to Eureka, where we stop for the night.

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