We finally made it. Only, we didn’t actually make it. I thought we did. It was a moment that I had been waiting for since my senior year of high school when I added it to my bucket list assignment in Ms. Barrier’s economics class. Finally, I was going to be able to check another item off of my list as we made our way to our next, and final, California destination.
The Redwood Forest
Apparently, the really iconic redwood trees are on the Avenue of the Giants. We did not go there. Instead, we went to not-as-famous but just as amazing Prairie National Park, which is a small part of the Redwood National Forest. The drive into the area was stunning. There was dense fog pouring onto the road and once we actually reached the area with the trees, it was like entering an entirely new country. I didn’t think forests that beautiful existed here.
It’s hard to imagine that we could be so close to something so ancient after years of comparing Europe’s old world wonders to America’s seemingly young history. According to some infographics that I found, some Redwood trees can live to be 2,000 years old and the forest itself has been around for 240 million years. This place has been around since before the dinosaurs. Even before Pangea split into the continents we know now. I dunno man, being in the presence of something so ancient is just such a surreal and humbling experience for me. It really puts things into perspective as far as how short human existence is in comparison and how little we have really seen in our time here.
Our GPS transported us to the center of the forest where we parked the van and made a beeline for the first hike we found. We didn’t have too much time to explore so we opted for an easy hike through the forest so we could appreciate the scenery and take some photos. We meandered down the path, taking time to look at patches of giant clovers for a coveted four-leaf clover (of which Eli found two), and admire some giant banana slugs. We also made sure to take some pictures of us next to the monstrous trees, like any good tourist would. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t make it to the Avenue of the Giants, but this area was just as awe-inspiring, I’m sure. Plus, there were probably a lot less tourists. So, another check on my bucket list. I think that makes three things marked off? I feel pretty accomplished either way and those redwood trees truly were a sight to behold.
From there, we went to Medford, Oregon, effectively ending our six week journey through California. Finally. And what a journey it has been so far. I can’t even think of how to describe the love I have for this experience so far. I’ve never felt more happy and fulfilled than I do in these moments. It has been a dream come true so far and the road ahead is all the more alluring now that I know how truly enjoyable this experience is. Now, on to Oregon. Although California took us a lot more time than we anticipated, everything is fine.