I was fortunate enough to have same extra vacation time from the prior year to burn, so I decided to take a long weekend to do some exploring. Northern California is reasonably close to Portland, so I decided that was the place to go. Being new to the West Coast, this was my first trip to the State of California.
The largest portion of my time was spent in the redwood forests. Specifically Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park and Redwood National Park, which encompasses National Parkland as well as several California State Parks.
It’s genuinely hard to capture the scale of the Redwood Trees and the shaded solitude of the forests. The forest is very, very quiet; so much so that if you stop walking and just listen you can hear the white noise of your own eardrums. The canopy of the trees is so large that very little (if any) direct sunlight is able to penetrate to the forest floor. To help complete these feelings of solitude, I was in the forests on weekdays, early in the spring, so I encountered very few people on the trails.
In fact, I think John Steinbeck captured the mood of the forests better than myself in his book, Travels with Charley:
‘The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are ambassadors from another time.’
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When Saturday rolled around, the campsites at Prairie Creek started to fill up and I moved on. I headed south on 101 to Arcata, then headed east into the Trinity Shasta National Forest. I took my time through that section of my route since I had all day to reach my final destination of the day. There’s lots of space but not many people through this part of California.
After spending the night at an inexpensive yet cheerful motel in Weed, I started to make my way home. It was Sunday and I was, sadly, all out of time.
The full selection of photographs from this trip may be found here: