The hard part about blogging after a trip is realizing all the things you should have done. For example, I wish that I’d realized I was going to start a blog. If I’d known that I would have spent much more time taking better pictures.
Case in point, the redwoods. They just don’t photograph well except in the vertical format, which annoys my photographer sensibilities. And then when you finally find the time to write about it the pictures you did bother take just aren’t quite up to the task – you have to scroooooolllll to see them all.
That’s a camper to the right there – imagine you’re standing right down at the base. Gawwwd they’re big!
So let’s catch up. The reason I’m talking about this is in mid 2017 we left Vacaville (close’ish to San Francisco) after completing some unexpected repairs to the Airstream and I was determined to get us to the redwoods come hell or high water.
To get there we took the 101 north to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
For our overnight we stayed at the Giant Redwoods RV & Camp right off the 101 where the opening picture above was taken:
I have to say, Giant Redwoods RV & Camp was just wonderful. The vibe was laid back and easy, there was lots to explore including awesome access to the South Fork Eel River. Sites were level, shaded and equipped with full services:
There was a nice new clean bathhouse and the owners were friendly and accommodating. They even placed some calls for us to work out a glitch in our Good Sam membership. I also super appreciated their laid back welcome for dogs.
The next day we drove up the 101 which hugs the coastline. Our destination was Redwood Meadows RV Resort which is just outside Crescent City.
Although the 101 hangs precariously to the seaside cliffs, and the trees are thick, you still get heart-stopping views like this one now and again. I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing ;o)
When we passed through Crescent City and managed a little time to explore the water. The bay is so shallow the water recedes extensively at low tide.
Finally we made our way to Redwood Meadows RV Resort, of which I managed to get exactly zero pictures.
Even without the pictures I can say only good things. The park has trees but it’s been substantially thinned so satellite reception, ironically, was just fine. Our site was level, clean and fully equipped. People were friendly, though evidently there had been some problems with theft in the past. Prices, in my opinion, we exceptional both for the time of year an ambiance.
The best thing about this campground though was location. Perched right on the edge of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park the park offered convenient access to Crescent City and exceptional access to acres of redwoods. We made frequent trips into town for supplies but still felt very much “away from it all”.
Riding the Redwoods
Ah yes, my favorite topic. Mountain biking.
Located close to Redwood Meadows RV Resort is the Little Bald Hills Trail, which is located directly across the Smith River from the RV park. Strangely getting there involved a somewhat serpentine though jaw-droppingly picturesque route.
Part of the drive includes a covered bridge which I think might be made out of redwood. I sort of expected to see Ichabod Crane.
The trailhead begins at Howland Hills Road, which is surrounded by tall and dense redwoods. The road is narrow and winding but parking at the trailhead was spacious enough for half-dozen trucks.
From there things got intense. This trail runs at a grade sometimes over 20% and with the humidity running 100% within seconds the sweat was rolling off of me and attracting car-sized mosquitoes. But who cares, look at this place!
Interestingly one of the strongest memories I have from the redwoods is the smell. It’s a very distinctive pleasant sweet odor. I can still smell it when I think about it.
Flowers were uncommon, only sprouting up in rare patches of open sunlight.
The climb was absolutely brutal, requiring frequent dismounts due to fitness and thick dead-fall. Still, at the top I was greeted with a fairy like view. I found that the higher I got the redwoods gave way to more common pine and less fog.
Despite the murderous climb I rode this trail a half-dozen times during our stay. It’s not for the lighthearted but damn what an experience.
Our trip to the redwoods had the best possible outcome – it made us want more. We only spent a couple weeks there due to our soon-to-end travel so now we have a little seed germinating that will almost certainly take us back to there for a much longer stay. This place absolutely has “it” and we can’t wait to go back.