The Redwoods

So, let’s start with the first big event that happened during our roadtrip: camping among the Redwoods!

Now, for those who haven’t heard of Redwoods–here’s some facts on them.

A ‘Redwood’ is a type of tree that can grow into an enormous height and width, of up to 379 feet or more (in height).  And measuring eight-to-seventy-feet in diameter.  They can live for thousands of years (1200–1800 years or more) which gives them plenty of time to grow and flourish.  The Redwood–true to it’s name–has red-ish colored bark, and wood, with the Red more visible when there is a freshly-cut spot on the tree.  They grow along the Pacific Coast of California, and Southern Oregon.

After researching some on Redwood trees, I also learned that they have a high ‘tannin’ content (which, from what I think I understand, is a sort of chemical that is in Oak trees and Redwoods) that helps protect them from fungus diseases and insects that could harm them.

But, let’s say that you knew nothing about Redwoods, and you’re driving down the Pacific Coast of California.  Maybe you’re visiting a family member, or a friend, or you’re on a business trip.  Maybe you’re going camping, or you’re just out to go sight-seeing because you have little–maybe even nothing–else to do.  (If that last bit is true, I’m going to take a wild guess that you’re either Single, or married without kids)  Or, like my family, you’re moving to a new home.

But then comes the matter of staying somewhere that night.  You don’t have enough money to go booking nights in hotels all of the time, and you won’t be reaching your destination that night…  So you decide to go camping at one of the nearby State Parks.  (Just pretend that this story is taking place either before or after the State Parks closed to the Public.)

Then you get on the road to where you’ll be camping, and–“holy cow!  Those are big trees!”

(Dot.  Dot.  Dot.)

That probably doesn’t sound like a very realistic story…  I was trying to explain how awesome these trees are.  But to be honest–you can’t explain how big they are.  The only way to actually get that feeling of ‘whoa’ over these trees, is to see them for yourself.  You can’t capture their size (or initial coolness) in a photograph or a painting or a story.  Because the camera doesn’t add-ten-pounds to the trees.  It takes a lot away from them.  X(

Redwood

Photo taken by my Mom.

Well.  While driving to our campsite that night, we were all amazed at the size of the trees on either side of the road.  But having them around our campsite, was even cooler.

I mean, picture this:  A little campsite with a couple of tents set up, a picnic table, a bear-box (something that you put food in so that the bears won’t get it) and a campfire.  And, boom!  Jumbo-trees all around!

I’ll just skip past the part where we unpack our car, set up the tents, and lock the food up…  Because it’s kind of boring to write about.

***

That evening we walked down a nature trail that ran alongside the place that we were camping.  It winded through the Redwoods and the ferns and the grass and moss, and all-in-all was very pretty.  We soon arrived at a pebble-shored lake, where we contented ourselves by skipping (or in my case, attempting to skip) rocks and stones over the smooth surface of the lake.

And then we walked home.

Now, here comes the scary part…

It was getting dark up where we were in California, and everything is much darker underneath the tall, leafy branches of the Redwoods.  They do a good job of blotting out the bit of sun that we have left while we walk back to our campsite, so that it’s harder to see.

I begin to talk to mom about what I’ve been thinking about ever since we arrived.

Me:  “Hey, mom.  Wouldn’t it be crazy if we saw a bear?”

Her:  “No.  It would be terrifying…”

Well then!  That answer didn’t exactly help my active-imagination, or my active-fear.  So I start to peer around…

And then, of course; like a suspenseful moment in a book or movie, a big animal moved on the path ahead of us.

My heart leaps with terror, and what do you think I did?

Did my long-hidden survival instinct kick in?  Did I jump in front of my mother and brothers and save them heroically from the beast?

Of course!

I yelled so hard at that bear that it probably… well… worsened the situation.

“Uh–gah–Oh my gosh!”

And then the terrible beast lifted it’s head and turned to look directly at me…  Which clearly displayed (even in the growing darkness) two very large ears that stuck out on either side of it’s rectangular-like head.

Bear was not Bear.  Bear was Deer.

My mother is forever disappointed in how I handle large, “carnivorous” animals.

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