On the Banks of the Klamath… Redwood National Park

We found this beautiful redwood stump with its twisted roots on the beach near where the Klamath River flows into the Pacific Ocean.

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 Yurok ceremonial site on the edge of the Klamath River and next to Redwoods National Park includes this 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.”

It is easy for me to understand how the Yurok regarded the redwoods as sacred beings.

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.

Our friends Ken and Leslie Lake stand next to the redwood stump we found washed up on the beach.

Driftwood can inspire the imagination. I saw a wood duck in this piece.

Waves crashing against the rocks, mist and driftwood are typical of California’s North Coast in Redwood National Park.

A lone bald eagle in the trees on the left watched as we wandered along the beach.

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.

This seemingly innocent farm building found in the North Coast Redwoods overlooking the Pacific once harbored an early warning radar system and two 50 caliber anti-aircraft submachine guns to guar against invasion from Japan 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.

I kept expecting to meet up with an Ewok. George Lucas used North Coast Redwoods to film his Ewok scenes. Portions of Jurassic Park were also filmed in the area. (Photo from Google images.)

The only strange creature I found was the Peripatetic Bone who insisted on having his picture take with one of the Big Trees. He considered it a humbling experience. Can you spot him?

Even my favorite Tree Huggers… Peggy, Ken and Leslie, were made to feel small.

17 comments on “On the Banks of the Klamath… Redwood National Park

  1. Huge trees. We have oaks and something like redwoods that make you feel small, these can be found in some ancient woods where ancient burial sites and hill forts are located, which adds to the sense of awe.

    • Makes me think of the ancient Druids, naturally. Our property in Oregon is filled with oaks, douglas firs, and cedars. I try to spend some time every day sitting quietly, admiring the trees, and enjoying all of the life they host.

  2. Beautiful post, wonderful images… We spend an inordinate amount of time with the trees and driftwood on our hikes. How can one not believe them to be sacred living beings, if you spend enough time with them? ♥

    • There is indeed much to see Sheryl. I escape there as often as possible. If I were doing it for the first time I would start in San Francisco or even Monterey/Carmel and work Northward. I’d do it in fall or spring and give it a couple of weeks.

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