Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Del Norte County Hike

River Trail
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

April 14, 2017

CA Counties Hiked in 2017: 2/58

Del Norte is a small county in the far NW of California along the Pacific Ocean, a place where giant redwood trees thrive below 2,000ft. due to the heavy winter rains and mild summers. When we first visited the area, we didn't hike in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Instead, we decided to hike through one of the farthest north groves of redwoods in southern Oregon because at that point in the summer of 2014, Laurel had never visited Oregon and the girls needed to hike in the "Beaver State" as part of our Hike in all 50 States Project

The rain fell at a constant rate as we drove along the rugged northern California coast. The road varied from sky scrapping redwood groves to cliffs dropping away to the rocky Pacific far below. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Humboldt County Hike

Owen R. Cheatham Grove
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park 

April 12, 2017

CA Counties hiked in 2017: 1/58

We knew we wanted to start hiking in all 58 counties in California, but we had no idea where to start as the girls started their Spring Break. It was already getting hot in the southern California Desert Counties, plus those are the farthest and we had a late start to the week off due to Laurel's participation in the 2017 Sacramento Doggy Dash. Most of the central valley counties were flooded from the unusually high amount of rain that has fallen in the last few months and most recreation areas are closed. The Sierra Nevada counties are still covered in snow measured by the feet and rain was forecast for much of the rest of the state during our week off in April. 

We turned our attention to the far northwest of California which is known for it's Redwood Forests. Yes, rain was predicted for every single day, but the temperatures would be reasonable and we knew that we would not have to deal with snow or a long drive. The girls are desperate to go camping since it's been well over a year since we've gone, but with all the rain in the forecast, I decided to get us a hotel in Eureka for the week to use as our dry base camp. 

We had no idea when we picked this trail, but some of you (Star Wars enthusiasts) may recognize the picture above or some of the pictures below as the redwood forest where the famous Speeder Bike Scene in Return of the Jedi was filmed. Laurel was anxious to share this fact with the "boys" at school who love the Star Wars movies. For those interested, we've posted the chase scene below.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Everything but Alligators and Polar Bears

Since we finished hiking in all 50 United States back in November 2016, we've been asked, "What's next?" 

After spending many years on the Hike all 50 States Project, I didn't have a "Next". I was relieved, but also very worn out. Even though I wasn't ready, the girls are always ready for our next adventure.

A lot of people think visiting countries is the natural progression. There are many countries I'd love to visit, but the idea of traveling around the world isn't very appealing to me at this time. When I'd allow myself to think about what's next, I often turned to our neighbors to the north. Canada is beautiful, vast, and remote with tons of wildlife. Everything we love. 

I would need a specific goal and hiking in all of Canada's provinces and territories seems like a great plan and they only have 13 total. Should be easier than visiting 50 states, right? However, when you look at a map of Canada, one thing becomes very obvious, it's a huge country. In fact, Canada is the world's second largest country and you can't even drive to one of the territories. This project seems a little overwhelming...for now.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Avenue of the Giants

Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA
April 14, 2017

We know from a past trip (July 2014) that photos don't really capture the abundance or great size of the redwoods along one of the most beautiful drives (Avenue of the Giants) that we've ever experienced, so we decided to make an amateur attempt to capture a brief portion of the drive on video:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Roosevelt Elk

Elk Herds
Northern California Coast

April 14, 2017

Both girls love observing wildlife and elk are near the top of their favorites list. For Kellisa, I think she enjoys them because they approach the car without fear and their large size makes them easy to see. I think all the same reasons apply to Laurel as well, plus her initials are E.L.K. which elevates the animals in her mind. 

The elk we saw on this day were part of the Roosevelt Elk that call the area in and around Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park home. We were fortunate to observe the same elk when we visited the area in the summer of 2014. 

We were disappointed to only see a few in the distance in the elk viewing prairie and decided to drive the road to Gold Bluff Beach where we saw a few more close up as they crossed the road in front of us. When we returned to the prairie an hour or so later, it was full of elk and both girls enjoyed an hour of observing in the evening's fading light.

A Surprise in the Road

April 14, 2017 - Fun on the road to Gold Bluffs Beach:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sequoia Park Zoo

Eureka, CA
April 13, 2107

The forecast was bleak, calling for heavy rain in our area for most of the day. There would be a small window of a couple of hours in the early afternoon where mostly cloudy skies with only a 20% chance of rain was predicted. 

We were hesitant to head out on a trail with such a tight window, so we decided to stay close to the hotel and visit the Sequoia Park Zoo. The zoo is small, but its setting among a small stand of redwoods made for an incredible afternoon. 

Judging from the school directly across the street, the local district was not on spring break this week and we literally had the zoo to ourselves.