Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring Break 2011: The Drive North

Who knew that California is that big? It takes about 6 hours driving south to get to LA from the Bay Area. If you drive north for 6 hours, you'd think you would make it to another state. It was kind of fun traveling without a GPS or a real map. I got on highway 101 about a mile from my house and just kept going. The drive took me a little longer than expected, but only because there were so many places to stop along the way.

I drove for about 4 hours before making my first stop. The Best of This American Life kept me company, but I was ready for a break. The city (town? village? freeway exit?) of Leggett offered the perfect place to pull over: the southern-most drive-thru redwood tree.

When I paid my entrance fee, the guy pointed out that my ticket allowed me to drive through the tree as many times as I'd like until 8pm that night. As tempting as it was to drive in a very small circle through a redwood tree for 6 hours, I only stayed long enough to stretch my legs and take a picture.

Another 30 minutes or so north of Leggett is the start of an amazing 31-mile scenic drive, the aptly named Avenue of the Giants. It runs parallel to highway 101, traveling along the edge of Humboldt State Park. There was supposed to be an audio tour to accompany the drive, but the box at the start labeled "audio tour" just had a map with no commentary.

I did stop in Humboldt State Park to take a little hike in Founders Grove, home of some big trees (as opposed to other parts of the park?).

The Founders Tree, named in honor of the founders of the Save the Redwoods League. It's really hard to capture the size of these trees on film--the picture below is two pictures stitched together)--but here are some stats: height - 346.1 ft (that's about 10 feet shorter than Niagra Falls); diameter - 12.7ft; circumference - 12.7pi or 40 ft; height to the lowest limb - 190.4 ft. Woah.

I really liked the trees with the burned out insides. I think it's amazing that the trunk can be so hollow but the tree still thrives. All three pictures below are of the same tree (sorry for how creepy my half-face looks in the shot looking upwards).

I was also really into the fallen trees. The exposed roots were so cool. Again, it's hard to demonstrate just how big everything is in photos, so I've tried to provide some scale for each picture below:

Eventually I left Humboldt State Park because I had to make it to my hotel by 8pm. The drive up 101 never stops being amazing. After awhile it moves out of the redwood forests and veers toward the coast. Never a boring drive for sure.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Beautiful! That is yet another place I would like to see someday. I am thrilled that you value seeing new and interesting things and keep looking for them.