Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Prairie Creek Redwoods

Redwood National and State Parks

Normally the Newton B, Drury Parkway can take travelers through the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, but the road was closed due to a fallen redwood blocking passage!  We wanted to hike one of the numerous trails through this old growth forest, so we had to take 101 all the way down to the Elk Prairie Campground and backtrack from there via our own two feet.  The ranger at the kiosk advised us to take the Prairie Creek Trail up to the "Big Tree" and then return via the Cathedral Trees Trail.

This hike was different than the one through Stout Grove.  There, the redwoods ruled.  Here, they formed a canopy for a variety of other temperate rain forest plants like ferns and rhododendrons. Even the Douglas Firs (big in their own right) seemed small in comparison; and my travel buddy looked like a chihuahua.  (Sorry, buddy!  Okay, maybe a Great Dane.)

We didn't meet a single other person until we crossed over the creek to "Big Tree".  Everyone wants to see this tree even though (in my humble opinion) it is not the most beautiful.  Still . . .it's worthy of a picture, that's for sure, as it stands a whopping 304 feet high and is 1.500 years old!
Big Tree

Feeling like a chihuahua, too?

As I headed back to the campground, I nearly stepped on this tiny little banana slug, but I have to tell you, I was almost as excited to see this little yellow creature as I was the Big Guy.  They're supposedly quite common in these rain forests, but this was the first time I came across one.  (Probably because I'm always looking up and not down.)

As I am writing this entry, I am also looking forward to our trip back north to Oregon.  We will be pulling a U-Haul trailer behind our van this time, with all our worldly possessions, so we aren't going to be able to stop in too many offbeat locales.  But maybe, just maybe, the Newton B. Drury Parkway will be opened and I can see these gorgeous majestic redwoods one more time before I bid California a fond farewell.

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