To the Redwood Forest!

I haven’t let Chelsea sleep past 7:15 on this vacation. If I’m found dead in a dumpster in the next few days, you’ll know where to look for the perpetrator. I just get really excited when there’s infinite hiking to be had… We headed out to the Redwood forest early Sunday morning and got to the gorgeous Pacific coast by noon. The coast in San Diego is wonderful, but the coast up north is magic, as evidenced by my excitement.

The Pacific! Obligatory foot shot, inherited from my mother.

We were staying at the Palm Motel in Orick, California. Some facts about Orick to give you context:

Population: 357*
Population addicted to Meth: 342**
First Post Office: opened in 1887***
Hits if you google Orick + Meth: 77,500****

*2010 census
**author’s estimates
***wiki
****google, duh

The Palm

We got a really good deal on the motel room though! We almost died when we walked into it. Who knew the Palm Motel was home to such wonders? There were 2 big bedrooms, a third smaller bedroom with a fridge and microwave, and a decked out 70s-style bathroom. We had a little carport and our very own astro-turf front porch.

Despite being tired and fairly enamored with our room(s) we headed to the Redwoods right after lunch. Lunch was the previous night’s pasta, which had been transported a couple hundred miles in a plastic bag.

Gross. Chelsea is officially an honorary vagabond.

Driving through wooded mountain roads reminded us both of trips upstate as kids. We suddenly had an embarrassing but mutual desire to listen to Hank Williams Jr. or Garth Brooks or any other ‘artist’ from our father’s early ‘90s country revival phase. And so we made a shameful mix, plus a little Johnny Cash to redeem ourselves.

We decided to skip the “Lost Man Creek” trail, which Chelsea thought should really have been named “We’ve never lost anyone here” trail and went straight to a scenic drive with some less threateningly named hikes. On our second hike of the afternoon we came across a sign explaining how some of the flora transfer nutrients “to the living (plants) from the dead” except I read it as “to the living dead” and that’s when it was about time to leave the dense, secluded forest.

The Palm Motel is run by two ancient people who I imagine go to bed around 6pm. At 8 Chel and I realized we didn’t have any toilet paper in the room, which made sense because the woman who we assumed took care of such things was definitely one of the 342 town addicts. Not wanting to disturb the elderly proprietors, I walked to the diner that is connected to the motel and discreetly asked the man behind the counter for a roll of toilet paper, explaining that I didn’t want to bother Ma and Pa Kettle. Well, the diner guy thought this was just about the funniest thing to happen in the town of Orick all year. I thought he was going to choke to death laughing. He kept yelling about how embarrassing it was for me to ask for toilet paper (it wasn’t embarrassing, until everyone in the restaurant was looking at me). “I’ve had a lot of crazy requests in here but that tops it,” and he went on hooting and laughing a deep belly laugh. Really? The stretch of the 101 that passes through Orick is maintained by a meth support group, half the town walks around like zombies and this is the craziest request you’ve ever gotten? Eventually I got my toilet paper but not before the public humiliation, if the man had gallows I might still be locked in them. But really, if you’re going to suffer any form of shaming, Orick is the place to do it— ain’t no one gonna judge you there.

The next morning we left the Palm before 7am (ridiculous!) for an early morning hike and picnic breakfast. There was no one on the trail we were hiking and it felt pretty eerie at first. We kept finding copious evidence of bears (i.e. giant piles of shit) and the maternal voice in the back of our minds was screaming at us to return to the car. Since we have the same mother you’d think the collective power of her voice in both of our heads would have had an impact, but we ventured on. And it’s a good thing we did because we stumbled upon a trail that was basically the set for Jurassic Park, minus scary animatronic dinosaurs. Plus AWESOME SLUGS! And climbing! And handstands!

The dinosaurs are breeding.
banana slug ❤
Three days of yogurt and granola breakfasts and the kid’s a tree huggin’ hippie.

Recap: The Differences between the Redwoods and the Sequoias (because I promised Julie)

I prefer the Sequoias as individual trees- there was a lot more variation among them, and you could climb inside most, whereas I only saw a few Redwoods where I could realistically establish a tree fort. But, the Redwoods were denser and felt like a proper forest and there was definitely a lot more exploring to be had. They’re also a little scarier because of that- I wouldn’t sit around in the Redwoods reading a book, but I would do that in the Sequoias. We got a little lost at some point (don’t tell Chelsea) so there was definitely more adventure/terror involved there, which I always enjoy.

Verdict:

I heart the redwoods, and the sequoias too!
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3 thoughts on “To the Redwood Forest!

  1. Oh how I loved reading this post. I took another delightful young woman to the Trail this week. She was also in Berkeley on Friday… I couldn’t believe the synchronicity. I wrote a writing prompt about the fallen sequoia just because it continues to draw me in and blow me away. Ancient, open, hurting, offering… I could get all woo woo but none of it feels good enough… if that makes any sense.

    THANK YOU for telling me about your Redwood Expedition and I LOVED the motel. I must visit Orrick. I must, I must, I must!!

    Big hugs to you!!

  2. I know, it’s really hard to capture nature in writing. I was at Powell’s Books today in Portland and saw a brand of notebooks specially designed for outdoor writing- rain proof etc. Thought of you and your nature prompts!

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