In my last blog, I wrote about experiencing the Redwoods through the eyes of our two and four-year old grandkids. There is still some question about whether they were more impressed by the big trees or the yellow banana slug.
“Can we eat it,” the four-year old asked? Peel away boy.
Two years ago, Peggy and I visited the same area along with our friends Ken and Leslie Lake out of Sacramento. We camped next to the Klamath River near where it flows into the Pacific. I have a special affinity for the Klamath. I was conceived on its banks.
At least that’s the story my parents told me. They were living in the small town of Copco, which is located just south of the Oregon border and east of Interstate 5. My mother always claimed she had the flu and it was a weak moment. It’s good to know where you stand with your mom.
After Ken, Leslie Peggy and I had explored our campground we headed for the ocean. We walked through a Yurok ceremonial site to reach the shore. The Yuroks have lived in the area for numerous generations and today constitute the largest tribe of Native Americans still living in California. The site includes several structures made of fallen redwood including a traditional sweathouse.
The Yuroks considered the giant redwoods sacred living beings. A comment from Zantippy on my last blog about Redwood National Park came close to capturing how the Yuroks must have felt.
“Oh man, these photos are gorgeous!!! How could Mr. Reagan have not felt these trees spirits? When I was ten, we went there, and my dad parked the car and we were going to walk the trail, but I wanted to stay by myself near the car, and just BE with the forest. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. Then I felt bad because my mother was worried about them walking too far away from the car where I was all alone, so they didn’t get to really explore. I think I told them to just stay still and listen. It is silent voices.”
A recent storm had deposited driftwood on the beach including a large redwood stump and roots. Smaller pieces of driftwood displayed unique personalities. Waves crashed against the shore. Mist touched the ocean and the trees. A bald eagle watched us from the distance.
Just up the narrow, winding Coastal Road, we came on another interesting site. It looked like an old farm. Appearances can be deceiving. It had been disguised to look like a farm. Once upon a time it housed an early radar warning system and two 50 caliber anti-aircraft machine guns. Its purpose was to guard against invasion from Japan following the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II.
Continuing on, we visited the big trees of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. I kept expecting to meet up with Ewoks. But there are scarier creatures about. Scenes from Jurassic Park were also filmed in the area.