Until we read the publication “101 Things To Do – Humboldt” we thought this was to be the more relaxed, laid-back leg of our journey. Alas, it was not to be. Since we only have two weeks we decided to make a list of some of the things that peeked our interest. There were many items on the list, as you might guess (too many in fact), including the Humboldt Roller Derby. Something about athletic, sweaty women getting physical with one another, and some in fishnet stockings to boot, is intriguing right? Well, maybe not for all of us, but I had to admit, stepping out and doing something a bit different had a certain appeal. Unfortunately, their once-monthly schedule had passed us by so we scratched this off our list. Sorry, I know some of you are disappointed that you won’t be seeing a post on this subject! It’s back to more mundane hiking, biking, kayaking, and sightseeing ways for us.
Besides Redwood National Park, there are many interesting state parks in Humboldt County.
Patrick’s Point State Park was our first stop as it is just down the road from where we are staying at Sounds of the Sea RV Park. A quick 1/2 mile walk and we are there, meandering through dense forest of coast redwood, spruce, fir, and red alder, on our way to the Rim Trail. This stunning 4-mile path winds along the bluffs, providing views of sea stacks, barking sea lions lazing on the rocks below, crashing surf, and craggy cliffs. At the north end of this trail is Agate Beach, which unfortunately can’t be accessed from here right now due to a rock slide. If you are a tent camper, many of the sites in this park look amazing.
Redwood National and State Parks is a bit unusual because, as the name implies, there are three state parks (Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwood State Parks) within the national park. This unique concept, bringing the National Park Service and California Department of Parks and Recreation together for the protection of the forests and watersheds, came about in the 1920’s due to the efforts by the Save-the-Redwoods League.
Their work formed the creation of the three state parks and in 1968 Redwood National Park was established after ~90% of the remaining coast redwood had been logged. These four parks, with a combined total of 133,000 acres, are now a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, setting aside these forests for everyone’s enjoyment. Today roughly 45% of the remaining old-growth redwood are here (the tallest of the tall), some living to be 2000 years old and over 360 feet tall. Walk among these giants and you will be humbled by just how small we truly are!
Arrive early to Redwood National Park if you want to see the famous Fern Canyon, location chosen by Steven Spielberg for the filming of Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World. There wasn’t another soul around when we arrived at 9:00 am but the crowds were out in force when we returned from our hike. This is a must-see and with just a short 0.3 mile walk you are immersed in a “hauntingly beautiful” narrow canyon, walls lushly covered by many types of ferns and mosses, dripping with moisture.
After spending some time here completely in awe of its beauty, we hopped on the trail to begin our 7.5 mile adventure into the redwood. A quick side note: do spend time in the visitor centers here. The rangers are a wealth of knowledge, particularly about hikes available. This particular hike quickly put us into a world that reminded us of our time spent in Costa Rica. We felt like we were enveloped in a tropical rain forest and as we penetrated her depths, the fog swirling around us at times, the only sounds to be heard were the occasional squawking of a stellar jay and the droplets of moisture hitting the ferns covering the forest floor. The canopy overhead was so thick that sunlight had difficulty finding its way in.
We saw only two other hikers during our entire time in the forest, which is how we like it! This was rated as a moderate hike, but honestly, it was easier than that. We made a loop out of the Fern Canyon, Friendship Ridge, and West Ridge Trails and could not have asked for anything more spectacular!
The various shades of green (my favorite color) could not be believed and I’m sure I did not do justice to them with my camera.
Surprise, a beautiful waterfall tucked into the forest sounded its arrival as we approached one of the final bends in the trail!
On our drive out of the park we were treated to a herd of Roosevelt elk, largest of the elk in North America, mainly residing in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest. It seemed unusual to see elk in this environment, overlooking the Pacific, as we are accustomed to spotting them in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park.
If you find yourself in Humboldt County, home to the tallest trees and 100 miles of “achingly beautiful California coastline”, you will find so many things to do, 101 Things To Do, as we have read.
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