So when we last left off, Tanner, my mom and I woke up on a very chilly morning at Crater Lake, packed up our gear, and realized that we weren't going backpacking for three days.
Now we were six hours from home and without an itinerary. We were also without the correct provisions, because we had planned on carrying everything we brought on our backs for three days of hiking, and thus didn't bring stuff like non dehydrated meals... or luxurious car camping equipment (like, say, chairs).... or a map. Fortunately, we did have a large six person tent, so we wouldn't be subjected to our tiny backpacking tents for the remainder of our trip.
With ten minutes to come up with a game plan, Tanner threw out the idea, "what about the Redwood Forest?" I mean, hell, we already drove this far. How much farther could California be?
Without a map to tell us, we asked our GPS, and it said we'd get there in four hours. Done! Onto the Redwood Forest we went.
As it turned out, the Redwood Forest National Park is big. Like, most of the coast of California big. We didn't entirely realize that until we got to its Northern-most tip (again... no map) and by then it was too late to turn around. To visit the whole park would have taken us another week of driving, but we decided to make the best of it and stay at Jedidiah Smith Redwood State Park and explore the upper edge of the National Forest. It was an absolutely lovely campground, and we had our pick of sites since it was the end of the season and no one but us was crazy enough to camp in this weather (apparently.)
Since we only had half the day left at that point, we went on a short hike into the forest to gape at the large and beautiful trees, cooked ourselves up a dehydrated meal, took a 50 cent shower, and went to bed.
The next day we got up early, packed up our gear, and did a six mile hike through immensely large groves of trees... it was impressive, really, how magnificently huge they were. It's one of the few things I remember very clearly from my trip to California when I was six: how awe-inspiring the Redwoods were at that age, and I was happy to discover that I was no less impressed now that I had grown taller.
When we emerged from our hike later that afternoon, we knew we had to keep on our travels or we'd never make it back to Portland in time. We still had no itinerary, and two days left, so we pondered whether to take the quick route straight up the highway, or the scenic route up the coast.
Since we were already making an adventure of this trip, why not keep it going? We settled back into our accustomed positions in the truck (amid our gear and bags of snacks and great views along the way) and spent another half-day driving up the coast of California back into Oregon, on the hunt for something fun to do and a place to stay for the night...
Stay tuned for part three...
(P.S. - Happy Thanksgiving!)