Day 3, cont: Humboldt Redwoods State Park
After leaving the coastal highway, we headed inland toward Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The 52,000-acre park houses the largest remaining "old-growth" redwood forest in the world. Approaching the park from the south, the 32-mile Avenue of the Giants parallels highway 101 and winds through the park (the three photos above are all taken along the Avenue). The road was built in the 1880s as a stagecoach and wagon road (for anyone interested in the history of the American West, I'm halfway through Blood and Thunder — it's terrific).
We consulted the park rangers at the visitors' center for the best place to hike and then set out along Bull Creek Trail South after "fording" a stream. (Another hiker was clearly distressed by the lack of a bridge and was convinced everyone was going the wrong way). On the way, we passed the "Giant Tree" with a height of 363 feet and a circumference of 52 feet. (That's Ben on the left in front of the "Giant Tree".) The tallest redwood in the world measures 379 feet tall (the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet).
We discovered that driving through the redwood groves actually gives a much better sense of their size than hiking. We were also worried it would get dark very early inside the forest, so we turned around after walking a bit and continued by car.
It was still early so we headed back to the nearest town to pick up vegetables for dinner. There wasn't much of a selection, but a little corner store pulled out some lettuce for us and we picked up tomatoes at a farm stand. We camped inside the park and enjoyed our new gas stove with a bluejay for company. We set our alarm for early the next morning having decided to stop driving north (there's a national redwood park near the Oregon border but we had gotten our fill of redwoods for now) and go west instead toward Lassen Volcanic National Park.