Friday, January 4, 2013

Redwood Forest - wow, wow, wow!!!

How can I describe our experience of hiking in the Redwood Forest today without sounding like a writer from Sunset Magazine?  Cliches abound, but I can't help it, I'm sorry.  In short:  It was a magical, spiritual experience.

Hiking in the hushed silence of this ancient forest, we walked and walked, our necks getting sore from staring upwards.  Shafts of sunlight beamed through the woods, our steps carpeted by thousands of years of redwood forest debris, our noses smelling millenias worth of rot, beauty, life and death.

The kids had an insane amount of fun playing hide and seek behind the massive trunks and underneath huge ferns.  We ate a home cooked lunch in the RV, looking out at giant trees, marveling at our good fortune: What have we done to deserve this bounty of beauty, abundance and freedom?  We keep telling the kids, "You could be sitting behind a desk in school now."  Then they quickly lower their heads and start behaving again.  Actually, they have been behaving very well, considering we all share a tiny space, 24-7.

Below is "The Big Tree", 1,500 years old, 23 feet diameter, over 300 feet tall.  It is a sight to behold, and I got a little teary at its magnificence.  The bark of redwoods can be 12 inches thick, and the bark of sequoias can be 31 inches thick.  They can live to be over 3,000 years old.  Can you even imagine that???

There are no diseases or bugs that can kill these trees. They die naturally of old age, or by being cut down by evil people.  (I know, loggers need to make a living, but - please?  Redwood trees???).

Steve has never seen the Redwoods, until now.  He is completely blown away.  He has read about them, seen pictures of them, heard stories about them.  But today, he proclaimed that these giants exceeded his highest expectations.  That's a high order, since he is such a nature man.

Years ago, before I knew Steve, I rode through the Redwoods Highway on my motorcycle, wind in my hair, a bad-ass biker chick, and I was just as amazed as Steve is today.  I am no longer a motorcycle Mama, but an RV mama.  And that is just fine with me, thank you.

 After our family hike, Steve and Kai ran one and a half miles on a different path through the giant trees for extra exercise, and they met the rest of us at the visitor's center of Del Norte Redwoods National Park.  When we met up, Kai's eyes were shining so, so brightly, and he screamed, "This is my dream come true!  I never expected this to be so beautiful!"  That's my boy.

See Steve and little Eva in the lower right corner?  Mere dwarfs!

After this mind-blowing experience, we sat in the sunshine, and it was actually WARM.  In January.  I had to decompress after all this beauty, so I basked in the sun and knitted.
I feel better today, although I still have a fierce sore throat and ear ache (thanks for asking about my welfare on Facebook and on the blog, dear readers).  I took some cold medicine last night, which I never, never do, and boy, did it knock me out and helped me sleep.  Hurray for drugs!

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