Monday, April 28, 2014

Redwoods State and National Parks

Sometimes things do not work out the way you plan. We had planned to go to a Corps of Engineer Park after Clear Lake State Park.  But when we arrived and went into the park, it was closed.  Evidently too little water. But no notice online or on the way into the park--very unusual.  So, we saw good reviews for Hendy Woods State park, called the office, and away we went.  No easy way from Route 101, but we were guided over Route 253--a gray road.  A gray road with some of the sharpest corners and steepest hills we had yet seen.  Phew!!!
But, what a gorgeous park!

A nice big, private site.  And, what we had not realized, it was an old redwood forest state park.  Huge redwoods.

Some great hikes in the park all around the giant redwoods. Also down to a small stream. 

While the sequoias grow mostly at elevations of 5,000 to 7,000 feet, the redwoods grow in a narrow band just away from the ocean from northern California into Southern Oregon. While the sequoias are the largest living things on earth, the redwoods are the tallest trees in the world. 

This website gives some other interesting information

Either way, they are big trees.

Since both sequoias and redwoods can live thousands of years, you see a number of each that have huge fire scars.  The trees have an ability to withstand forest fires.  Even with huge scars, the trees stay green and alive.  To help with protection, they have bark that is up to one foot thick.  It is also resistant to disease and insects.  Most sequoias and redwoods die from toppling over.

The park had some nice examples of wild irises in bloom.

Also what looks like a three leaf clover , is called Redwood Sorrel.

The forest floor is covered with these.

Also, a lot of poison oak.  Watch out!

In the 1950's to 1960's , there was a real hermit living in the Hendy Woods.  He was Russian and had jumped ship shortly after World War II.  This is one of his shelters.   Though he was very reclusive, he did greet some few campers now and then.

After Hendy Woods, we took a longer route around to Route 101 north to the Redwood State and National Park.   A nice road off Route 101 which brings you to the campground is The Avenue of the Giants.
Definitely not recommended for large rigs, it is a very scenic road that winds through grove after grove of Giant Redwoods.

Jan and I stayed at Burlington Campground in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park right on the Avenue of the Giants. It is right next to the Visitors Center. 

Inside was a museum and this Redwood Travelog.  It is an RV built by Charles Kellogg(not the cereal family) on a 1917 Nash Quad truck body from World War One. The Redwood log was donated by a lumber company. It was a 22 foot section from an 11 foot diamater tree.

This is a picture of Kellogg beginning to carve the RV from the huge tree section.

Actually quite comfortable inside.  Even had a room for a guest.

Kellogg drove this unit across the country twice as part of an effort to preserve the giant Redwoods.

And yes, it even had windows. The following website gives some more information for this remarkable man who was probably most famous on the Vaudeville circuit and on record as a bird singer.

Scroll down on that website for pictures of Kellogg with his Travelog.

Along the Avenue of the Giants is the Founders Grove and this Founders Tree. 

Note the dimensions.  Taller than the length of a football field.

Very difficult to take pictures of the whole tree.  The groves are like rainforests.

Hollowed out from a fire many years ago, this tree is still very much alive.

Our next stop along the redwoods trail is Elk Prairie Campground.  This is quite close to the ocean.

And yes, there were elk right in the campground on the open fields.

The male elk had mostly lost their antlers, and as you can see from the one on the left, they are now starting to grow new antlers.  Their coats are a little rough because of shedding.

Remember, you can click on a picture to enlarge.

There were about 20 or so in the herd.  They freely roam and cross the highway.

Our campsite backed up to a great little stream.

A big difference in Northern California was 4 straight days and more of rain.  No drought here.

Once again, we see an example of the Civilian Conservation Corps.  This is the visitors center at Elk Prairie.

Gary and Dave---thought of you when I saw the wooden shingles on the roof.  The park worker who redid the roof was just there and noticed me taking the picture.  I mentioned the wooden , thick roof shingles. He said that he had made them last year. They are all redwood and were hand made with some basic wood tools.  He was right to be proud of his work.

An important part of the redwood forest are the smaller creatures like this banana slug.

It helps move the seeds and dirt around.

What a handsome creature!

They are between 6 to 10 inches long and very slow moving.

Yes, it had rained.  But even so, we were still impressed by super green walks through the campground and park.

And as if things couldn't get any better, we happened to look at Jedediah Smith State Park, north of Crescent City and on Route 199 along the Smith River.

This is our wonderful site and that is the beautiful and wide Smith River behind our site.

Lady Blue is happy.  This campground is still part of the National and State Redwood parks, so we are here at half price or $17 per night.

Still amongst the redwoods.  Lady Blue looks rather small in the giants.  What a beautiful park including a day use area and trails.

And in the middle of the Redwoods , you can catch a shaft of sunlight with a blossoming Trillium flower.

Jan loved our back yard.  The river was fast moving and green.  But when you looked, even the deep sections were crystal clear to the bottom.  Clean water, but the color was from minerals?

We would be sad to be leaving California.  But-----our first stop in Oregon is this beautiful Harris Beach State Park. Note the cars and people down to the right will give you an idea of the size of the rocks and surf.

And this is our campsite.

Jan and I think we will like Oregon.


  1. What a beautiful place you are. One of our personal favorites.
    In Oregon, you must stay at the USFS Tillicum Beach campground. South of Waldport. It's very popular because it's USFS, therefore cheap for us old folks. Try for reservations to get one of the ocean view sites. Or arrive early in the day and hope for the best.
    Enjoy your travels.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks for the suggestion. We will be heading for Tillicum Beach. Also had some other suggestions from locals. Certainly trying to slow down a bit and enjoy this wonderful Oregon coast. Looking forward to some good seafood including oysters.

  2. We're a little ways behind you. Staying at the Mendocino Fairgrounds in Boonville, planning to hike at Hendy Woods today. Since we came from Santa Rosa we took 128 to Boonville, quite a twisty road, also. It was a very slow 25 miles to get here!