We woke up solemn and swell under the sleeping Redwoods, with a state of enchantment awaiting us right outside our front door flap . . . The sun peaked through the high-up branches, twinkling down on us through the top of the tent. The excitement set in as we quickly remembered where we were and what was ahead. We hustled to pack up camp and scurried out of the campsite and through the meadow, which was again filled with mass amounts of Elk! Like a crazy kid with no chaperone, I ran into the meadow and struck a pose — already — TODAY WAS AWESOME!!
We hit Highway 1 & continued north. We headed up the highway and then down a dirt road that led us out to Golden Bluffs Beach State Park. The coastal trail took us deep through an entangled forest and out onto the beach, which we cruised up with the windows down, music off, and listened to the ocean seethe. There was no one around and we had no idea where we were, and knowing that made it that much better. We soaked up the salty sea breeze and headed onward, further up Bald Hill Road and to the Redwood Creek Overlook. Once again, pure gorgeousness and NO ONE around!!! Perfect time to bust out the grill, crack open a few beers, enjoy some lunch, climb around and wander aimlessly. We were 1,000 feet above sea level and could see the entire coastal mountain range expansive and extending in front of us, with the ocean big and blue, just beyond — pure panoramic awesomeness.
After lunch, we ventured further down the road to Lady Bird Johnson Grove where more Redwood magic was waiting. The hugeness, the green-ness, the collections of lush, hillside blooms and huckleberry shrubs sprinkled all around . . . A little slice of paradise atop the old, ancient, wind swept ridges of the forest. Lady Bird Johnson was an environmental activist as well as a former first lady, quoted as saying, “Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” Venturing deep into that forest we’d never been to, amidst the fuzzy limbs and disheveled, overflowing growth, I felt nothing, nothing, nothing but love ~
“My heart found it’s home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order & disorder of the flowering Earth.”
– Lady Bird Johnson
After our lovely forest hike, we found our way back to Highway 1 and kept north. Throughout the afternoon, we took any and every side road that pulled us in, catching glimpses of wonderful, undreamt moments in time. THIS — my friends — is what it’s all about. It’s why it’s so important to let yourself feel that reckless abandon, the liberating feeling of wander, the infinite, expansive feeling of freedom — and getting lost, letting that feeling take you whichever direction your heart desires. One of our travel tangents took us down a simple road that veered off to the left in the direction of the sea, followed a cliffside up, up, up, and climbed right up to a hidden high point. We got out and walked up to the edge, and within the beautiful Pacific coastal view, special moments trickled in as our eyes began to adjust. We found ourselves looking over sea lions flip-flopping and playing in the surf, and even salmon large enough to see from where we were swimming down in the open mouth of the river. Then we looked over the great blue and for the first time of our trip, we saw WHALES — Big grey whales!! The Earth migrating and moving down below, Klammath River Overlook was truly a treat — a rocky, windy, very big and very blue frontier, where the untamed wilderness put on a most memorable show.
We then ventured up to Crescent City and out to Point St. George — where we saw a castle in the sea!!! Yea okay, it was actually just a lighthouse atop a rocky boulder out in the ocean, but the magic of the day made it seem like more. (Seriously, I really did think it was a castle.) Crescent City is kind of a cracked-out, slummy place with very questionable characters (to be brutally honest–weird vibes). . . So we left the city and headed right back into the wilderness in search of our next destination: Jedediah State Park. We set up camp at Site 83, and this was by far the best campsite we stayed at in all of California. Beautiful, clean, and private, with great facilities (bathrooms AND showers), and they even had Wifi!! Best part about this campground is it’s nestled right along the gorgeous, sapphire hue of the Smith River. This river is a must-see/do!! We set up camp, and I made a big breakfast sandwich for my love while he built me a toasty, cozy fire. We roasted marshmallows in the moonlight before settling in for a good night’s sleep.
The morning of the 30th, we awoke and straight chilled at our campsite for a while. A bit of rest and relaxation was in order, and we were already amidst the stunning Redwoods, cozied in our PJ’s and marveling up at the gorgeous green moss lining the trees and hanging from the red branches — it was wildly majestic and the most inspiring jungle-esque scene — definitely a campsite worth staying and enjoying. When we finally got moving, we ventured up and down the Smith River, stacking rocks along the riverside, finding dinosaur eggs, watching rushing water fall and collect in whirlpools of riverbeds. The emerald, sapphire blue-green of the river on top of the rich red and green of the Redwoods is a royal site to see ~
From there we drove down Howland Hill Road, a gravel road that divulges right through the massive Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest. See, it was almost Brad’s 25th birthday (which is June 2) and I had done a little planning ahead. If you don’t already know, the Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest is where one of the most epic Star Wars battles was filmed, which of course happens to be one of my boy’s favorite movies! Once we parked for a short hike through the forest, I clipped a Jedi braid to Brad’s hair and busted out some super badass light sabers that even lit up and made sounds! Super cheesy surprise, but I watched as Brad’s wheels started turning ~ & into the forest we went — hurdling over fallen trees, jumping off the sides of trees, ninja/jedi’ing our way through this epic forest setting with our toys. There were a couple times people came strolling through and we got a little bashful and embarrassed . . . but some of them were super into it too which made it cool again! Hands down, most epic way to celebrate 25 years of life!!! Happy (almost) birthday to my love, my life!! (Funny story — we actually got lost in the forest and ended up having to walk a mile back on the road with our light sabers, where people drove past us craning their necks to see the star wars forest freaks – hahaha, pretty comical experience to say the least.)
After the epic birthday battle was complete, we headed back to the campsite to enjoy all sorts of yummy goodies for Bradley’s birthday. We popped open a bottle of champagne (which Brad promptly chugged), mixed up some guac, grilled some carne asada (his fave) with corn on the cob, potatoes and onions, and had a grand ol’ feast!!! For dessert, we enjoyed a mayorca pastry with custard and jelly (outstanding), which I adorned with candles so he could make his birthday wishes and send them off into the night ~ Twas a great way to celebrate Bradley’s “almost” birthday.
. . . And the epic odyssey continues!!!! The next day we would cross the California-Orgeon state line, a place neither of us had ever been but a place that stole us away and lingers in our minds still to this day — definitely our favorite state we explored! Much beauty lies ahead . . . But til then . . .
~ May the force be with you ~
xoxo, Tent Girl