Well, summer of 2017 has come and gone and I can’t even believe it. The first week of September is the week Jensen and I go on vacation every year. It’s the first week of mellow: kids are back in school, everywhere gets less crowded, things slow down. The vacation comedown has been real this year. The harsh reality of real life is just too much, sometimes, and I want to travel and live in my permanent daydream of driving and hiking and taking photos of beautiful places.
I guess all the more reason to try to reincorporate the beauty I have at home into my everyday life. Get outside more. Enjoy the beauty I have right in front of me, rediscover it, photograph it.
This year’s road trip took us down and back up highway 101 all the way to Santa Cruz, through the Redwoods we both love so much. Forest fires were abound throughout Oregon, Washington, and California the week we traveled; we did a pretty good job avoiding smoke by staying on the coast the entire week. The Redwoods proved to be what we needed, a private and quiet getaway from the busy and messy world. A lot of our time was eaten up by driving, so many views we only saw from the car window, but I swear I could spend a week every year in the Redwoods and never run out of places to go and things to see. It’s one of my favorite places on earth, a northwest-y haven in Northern California that combines the beauty of the rugged Northern Coast with the familiarity of endless, green views. Growing up in the Northwest, surrounded by trees and green and colors, it can be very strange travelling to dry and flat and colorless places. Even in Santa Cruz, Jensen declared it was ‘too Southern California’ and he wanted to head back North, into the green and cool forest.
We didn’t go on any very long hikes in the Redwoods, instead favoring few short ones or stopping on the side of the road and wandering into the magical forest of trees that make you feel so small. We drove through the Avenue of the Giants, which is definitely worth the detour. And then we traveled South, driving on the windy highway 1 and enjoying the California coastline and the crashing of the waves.
One of the highlights of the Redwoods this year was Fern Canyon, somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for quite a while and finally made it this year. Although it was a mildly sketchy dirt road drive for my Camry, which included driving through a stream (!), it was worth the effort to make it here. You feel like you’re in a different world. So much so, that it actually was used for filming in the OG Jurassic Park’s sequel and a dinosaur documentary.
Going to the Redwoods is something I’d recommend everyone do at least once, but don’t be surprised if you feel the need to go back over and over. It’s one of the gems of our Western Coast, a place I truly treasure and plan to return to for more adventures.