Got out of Mendicino after finding breakfast and picking up some gifts for the people back home. Proceeded to drive up CA-1 until it dead ended into US-101. On the way stopped by a random beach so that I could actually put my toe in the pacific which I hadn't done before. Yes, its cold up here.
Driving is getting to be annoying, but at least the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. You're driving through redwood forests the whole time. It took us about 3 hours to wind our way up to Miranda, CA (population: 200), at the southern end of the national redwood forest. The place we're staying is right in off main street. You get a cabin all to yourself, and you're basically back in a small redwood forest surrounded by other cottages and redwoods. It's really quite nice.
All our trip through here is on The Avenue of the Giants.
After checking in and finding a late lunch, we drove up to the to one of the 'Drive your car through a living redwood!' places. I don't think the one we were at is the really famous one, but it was still cool. And quite a harrowing experience fitting out 6'6" car through a 7' opening without damaging the mirrors. They also had a two story treehouse there it was fun climbing around in.
Then we continued on and got to the visitors center right after they closed. But at least we got a couple of brochures and discovered an important fact: The Ave. of the Giants is closed for a mile right after the visitors center due to a mudslide in February. We'll have to plan around that tomorrow when we try some more redwood sight seeing and hiking, before we hit the road again to Crescent City, CA.
We did go on a quick half mile-hike near the visitor's center. It's hard to describe seeing these trees up close. It's absolutely amazing. Random facts:
- They don't have a main, central root. Each root is actually quite small, less than 6 ft, but there are a lot of them.
- Since they have such short roots, they often link roots with other redwoods for added stability. Communists.
- They grow their branches out to help balance out the tree. If it's leaning one way, new branches will grow on the other side to help balance the tree out.
- They're amazingly resistant to fire.
- When there's trauma to a tree, they grow huge seed pods on the side of their trunk so that if that tree doesn't make it, it'll plant seeds for many more.
- You look really, really small standing next to one.
They're simply wonderful things that have to be seen to be believed. Tomorrow we're going to see more of them, and then head out at night.
Tonight we just spent basically vegging. The drive is starting to get tedious and I think we just needed a night to not think too much. We grabbed enough food to qualify as dinner from the market, and then basically watched TV and went to bed early. We've got another long day of hiking and driving ahead of us tomorrow.