Got to the Park Headquarters - very "far off the beaten path" - inland from the coast about 15 miles and 67 miles south of San Francisco at about 3:00 Friday afternoon.
The zig-zagging, roller-coastering narrow road leading there from the main highway was a hair-raiser. James drove. I just closed my eyes a few times.
Got there in one piece and registered at the main office:
Then headed to our campsite and struck our tent. Actually, after we three grownups had some cervesa (I brought three small Coronitas), James, Jessica and Elijah did most of the tent-raising while I tried to keep tabs on the boys. . . .
Elijah saw - right away - that there was a fallen tree-trunk across the stream bed behind our site, and went for a walk across it (a la "Calvin and Hobbes" and John Muir & his family). . . .
A cute feature for our campsite, I thought. When I came back from a short walk yesterday I waved to Jessica and Teddy on the opposite side of the log. I was tempted to take the "balance beam" walk myself, but opted out.
Have to remember we were in camp site number 142 and some day, when Charlie and Teddy are bigger, go back to that same one so that they can duplicate Elijah's stroll over it!
After pitching our tents, we had dinner - hot dogs and a nice dish of mixed potatoes and veggies that Jessica had pre-prepared. Cooked over our "open pit" fireplace. And some vino. Met our neighbors, too. . . . a young couple with two little girls ages 4 and 2. Charlie was a bit covetous of the older girl's scooter. (On our last camping trip a couple of months ago he "borrowed" another kid's scooter and rode it for hours on end.) But we told him "No scooter this trip."
On Saturday we walked over to the headquarters again to check the Activities Board for the things planned for Saturday and decided we would all go on the short guided "loop trail hike" in the nearby Redwoods Grove. . . .
Leaving our campsite area, down the road a bit, we walked across a bridge with a nice stream.
Then continued on our way to the path running alongside the 'main' road to the park HQs. . . .
Charlie and Teddy found a "Keebler Elves" tree along the way. . . .
And a nice fallen log to take a 'pony ride' on. . . .
And their daddy educated Charlie on the subject of tree rings.
E-Man took along the good camera and got some pix of interesting stuff. The rest of this tree was on the other side of the road.
The Ted-ster and I fell behind a bit. He was examining an acorn here, I think. . . .
In the manner of "Jeffy" of "The Family Circus" cartoons, his wanderings were worthy of leaving a dotted line. . . .
But his Daddy finally decided that Grandbaba maybe should have picked Teddy up
Maybe a Banana Slug to hold over our heads would help keep us all together?
We met our Volunteer Docent for our hike, Barry, at the big cross-section slice of Redwood Tree at the Park HQs:
Older than Mohammad. Born at about the time the game of Chess was invented in India. And yet, there are others that are over 2,000 years old.
As Ben Stein famously said "Now pay attention and you just might learn something." Seems Teddy (in lower right corner) took more interest in the hike that the boys in the extended family that was with us.
Signs along the way said "No crossing fences." Charlie only climbed them once in awhile.
Just a nice biggie. . . .
And a fallen one along our way. . . .
That one of those bored boys in the other family just had to stroll up. Barry said it is not prohibited, but is discouraged.
So Charlie and Teddy tried it, too but at the smaller end. . . .
Continuing on our way, the scenery got better and better, but the boorish behavior of the boys in that other family (as well as of the parents) got worse and worse.
Another "Calvin and Hobbes" balance-beam log:
The most valuable tree in the park, aka "the pantry tree," tho dead provides storage places made by woodpeckers for their nuts. Barry said over 100 woodpeckers have food stored in it.
Long before we reached the pantry tree, James, Jessica, Elijah and the boys struck out ahead on their own. I didn't realize the reason for their wanting to get away from the rest of 'the pack' until a Park Police officer paid the rest of our group (that I had remained with) a visit and lectured the bored/boorish boys on proper behavior. Seems they had engaged in some dangerous behavior that posed a physical threat to CJ, TJ, Elijah and J&J. No need for me to detail it here, but suffice it to say that these kids were no angels. Their parents did not set the proper tone for them either. I decided to stay with the group after hearing the officer lecture the boys and tell them that if their behavior continued they or their parents might be subject to legal penalties. After the officer left, the parents asked me if I had stayed because they were so nice, to which I replied, "No, I'm staying because Barry is nice and I'm learning stuff from him. As for the rest of you, meh." I said it laughingly. They got my drift, tho.
I just decided that they weren't going to ruin my day.
And so we continued our hike. . . .
And saw some amazing stuff. . . .
Barry said the 'striations' on these trees are genetic, and show that they are all part of the same 'family.'
Big stuff all around. . .
I believe the tall one in the middle is "The Father Tree," or the biggest one in the forest. It'd be even bigger had a lightning bolt not knocked the upper 80 feet off of it!
Placard at the area near The Father Tree and The Mother Tree:
Papa (in three sections, since I couldn't figure if the camera I was using has a panorama feature):
Mama (I didn't bother even trying to 'pan' upward to the very top on her):
Mama also lost a bit off the top. The topmost part of her trunk struck the ground in the mode of "Vlad The Impaler":
A little farther on down the trail there's a double 'impalement.'
And so ended our hike around the area with the tallest trees. But this circle in the grass on the trail on the way back out of the woods impressed me and made me think it could be the 'footprint' of what was once a humongeous tree. . . .
The saplings in a circle around it forming what is known as a "fairy circle" seem to be evidence that my thinking is spot-on:
Walking past the amphitheater across from the the Park HQs building I saw these neat benches. . . .
Yes, I guess so. . . .
This pair of them was just behind our campsite, too:
Saturday night all of us went on a "Ghost Story Hike." We arrived for it more than an hour ahead of our group's scheduled departure time, but there were drinks (tea, cocoa, hot apple cider) and cookies and candy. Also some entertainment at the amphitheater where the kids could use shadow-puppets. The Ghost Hike was cute and more funny than scarey, tho at one point Charlie did say "I'm scared." It was very well planned and acted out. A bit of blood-curdling screaming, a story-line about a fellow killed by a bear and his mangled body being found except for his arm. Supposedly based on fact. Ruh-Roh.
Then, on Sunday morning, James, Jessica, Elijah and the boys stayed at the campsite packing up while I took a hike on my own, out to "Ocean View Summit," a four-mile round-trip hike.
The ocean is pretty far-off, in the distance, but it is there:
Looking south, an interesting ridge-line:
Going back downhill, on way to meet J&J, Elijah and the boys for lunch at the snack bar near the Park HQs. . . .
There were a lot of these passageways along the way. Seems that a lot of trees do fall in the forest (when nobody's there to hear them), but they do get sawn. . . .
Here, I'm on the inside looking out. . . .
Of this, Minnie The Moocher's Hidey-Hidey-Hidey Hole. . . . :-)
Max Head-room, 5 feet 10 inches or so. DOUBLY so. . . .
Another one of those passageways. This one, thru the biggest log. I got the feeling that if the one on the right slid ever so slightly downhill, I'd be the hamburger in the hamburger press.
The uphill side. . . .
I'm copse-ing. . . .
And rooting. . . .
Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia-PET! In the JUMBO size.
Can't get much root-ier than this. . . .
Oh this is just ducky, again. . . .
Charlie and Teddy need to come out here when they're a bit bigger too. . . .
If they don't - that is - lose interest in playing "tunnel". . . .
Made it back! By 12:15! Only 15 minutes late for lunch.
After which we hit the road for home. Another roller coaster and S-curve packed ride thru the hills and mountains made even more exciting by the lack of guardrails, the 50-foot or so cliff drop-offs, and the three idiots racing (yes, racing. . . a Ford Mustang, a Dodge Challenger and an Audi Triple-Turbo) and honking at and passing us on one of those S-curves (only to reach a Stop-light up the road for a construction site, and for us to slowly roll up behind them at that point and laugh our asses off at them!)
It was a very FUN weekend!
P.S. (added W10/28/15) Here's a few more photos. I "lifted" these from Jessica's Facebook posting about the weekend.