A Tall Trees Tale: Shake Down Cruise to the Redwoods… North to Alaska

Moss covered tree in Redwoods National Park.

When we think of the Redwoods, it is usually about the giant Redwoods. But the Redwoods also have an incredible greenness that is long remembered.

A long trip, especially a long trip where services are few and far between, means you prefer not to have breakdowns along the way. I dutifully took Quivera in to the Ford Dealer and spent the usual obscene amount of money to increase my chances she would behave herself on the way to Alaska. The drive to Alaska isn’t as challenging as it once was (I made my first trip in 1986 over frozen dirt), but it is still challenging.

To further increase our chances of a worry-free trip, Peggy and I– along with our daughter and two grandkids, took Quivera on a shake down cruise to the Redwoods National Park in Northern California, about three hours away. We had introduced our son Tony’s kids to the Big Trees last summer and were eager to have Tasha’s children share the experience.

We dutifully took the kids to see the Big Tree. It is 304 feet tall (92.6 mtrs), 21.6 feet in diameter (6.6 mtrs) and 68 feet (20.7 mtrs) in circumference. The estimated age of the tree is 1500 years. Afterwards, Ethan and Cody along with our next-door neighbor’s son, William, went charging off to look for Ewoks and banana slugs. Star Wars was filmed nearby.

Big Tree in Redwoods National Park.

The eight year old Ethan on the left, our nine-year old next door neighbor William, and the five-year old Cody pose in front of the Big Tree in Redwoods National Park.

Big Tree at Redwoods National Park.

Looking up at the Big Tree. It is impossible not to feel awe.

A pair of giant trees in Redwoods National Park.

Of course Big Tree is just one out of hundreds of the giants found in Redwoods National Park.

Firn with rain drops in Redwoods National Park.

It had rained just before we started our visit and this fern was still holding rain drops.

Banana Slug at Redwoods National Park.

A bright yellow Banana Slug makes its way along the forest floor. The Banana Slug, BTW, is the school mascot for the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Redwoods National Park

Another view of how green it is at Redwoods National Park. I told the boys to look out for Ewoks. The boys are avid Star Wars fans. “You know Ewoks are make believe,” the five-year old Cody primly informed me. Darn. I thought they were real.

Redwoods National Park

The light grey clouds against the dark tees provided an interesting view looking up.

Leaves at Redwoods National Park.

I also liked this shot looking up at leaves.

Pacific Ocean

We also camped out on the Pacific Ocean. This is our daughter Natasha. The tracks you see were made by the boys, running back and forth between the ocean and their driftwood forts.

Harris State Beach Park

We spent our last night at Harris Beach State Park in Brookings, Oregon

Fog rolls in at Harris State Beach  near Brookings, Oregon.

The fog was rolling in when we packed up to leave. Quivera was ready to head north to Alaska.

NEXT BLOG: You’ll meet our traveling companions, Bob and Linda Bray. Bob and I have been hanging out together and causing mischief since the First Grade… a long time ago on a far and distant planet.

15 comments on “A Tall Trees Tale: Shake Down Cruise to the Redwoods… North to Alaska

  1. Curt, I’m a big believer in shake down trips as well, especially when it involves distances like you’ll be covering. Yep, prevent the problem before it happens. Great photo of the banana slug. Once on a rainy hike in Oregon, I unknowingly stepped on a banana slug. I didn’t even know it until I was back to the car. It was pretty gross, but this was the stickiest, gooiest, slug in history. I took forever to get it out of my boot cleats. I paid more attention after that. ~James

  2. I can’t remember ever seeing a banana slug or even reading about banana slugs, but when I saw that photo, I knew! I think it’s hilarious that it’s become a school mascot. The closest thing we have around here are the Fighting Sand Crabs down in Port Lavaca.

    The first time I went into the redwoods, I was with a friend with a sense of humor. He ducked behind one of the huge trees and was, of course, completely hidden. When I turned around and found myself apparently alone in the midst of that grove, it was an extraordinary experience. I say “apparently alone” because there was quite a remarkable sense of presence that had nothing to do with my friend.

    And btw – email arrived just fine for this one.

    • I’d go to UC Santa Cruz for that reason alone. (grin)

      As for being alone in the woods, I’ve often backpacked by myself… including places like the Grand Canyon. Some places seem to have more “spirit” than others.

      Sounds of large limbs cracking in the middle of the night are something else, however. And then there was the time I woke up with a bear standing on top of me… –Curt

  3. Redwoods to Kodiak, Alaska! One week on the road and I think we must have another 50 ideas for blogs along the way!

    • One would hope so on the wanderlust. (As I write this Peggy and I are in Anchorage.) As for banana slugs, our grandson Ethan picked up one and pretended to eat it. (grin) I got a great photo of all mouth and slug. –Curt

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