Today we took our time in the morning to give the tent a chance to dry. Breakfast, walk, the usual. There was a guy in the next tent over who rode in with his grandson on a big touring Harley. It freaked me out a little bit because he looked just like Brett Wattles, who passed away last week. Helped another group jump-start their car, then we hit the road around 11 I guess. South from Eureka down the 101 to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which is home to the Avenue of the Giants. We spent a few hours wandering down the Avenue, taking it all in. Some stretches were simply amazing, then there would be a stretch that was lackluster, but then that only allowed you to appreciate the next good grove.
We stopped at one turnout, and I don't even know which one it was, but we walked this little loop trail that was maybe half a mile long. No one else was there and it was great. Max really liked it. There was this one big tree that was all hollowed out to maybe 10 feet up that we could walk into.
We took a slight detour down Mattole Road to Rockafeller Forest to see the "Tall Tree," which was indeed very tall. Even Max seemed impressed, he kept walking up to it and looking up.
There was one more great grove we stopped at, right beside the road, oh... Bolling Grove. Once again, no one else was really around so we stopped there and ate lunch.
After we had our fill of Redwoods, we continued down the 101 and stopped at Leggett to do the road trippy thing of driving through the Chandelier Tree at some roadside stop. Had to do it. Some old guy even took my picture.
Continued down the 101 for a few miles before realizing that the Leggett exit was also the exit for California Route 1, which I wanted to take down the coast. So we backtracked again, but only for a couple of miles. The first 22 miles, and actually the whole thing so far, is a driver's road. You see lots of motorcycles, corvettes, bmw's, that type of thing. Very narrow, tight winding turns, etc. Fortunately for me I love that sort of thing, even though we weren't going all that fast and often used turnouts to let others pass. Unfortunately, Max was sleepy after all our walks and just wanted to sleep but couldn't with the constant back and forth.
It was getting close to 6 and we were both worn out so we pulled into a campground just north of Point Arena, California. The lady let us drive around and pick our own campsite. This was pretty close to the ocean, within sight of it, so it was windy and there were not many tent campers (plus it is Sunday). We basically had the place to ourselves, and took a site by the back gate that lead into Manchester State Park. We ate dinner, then went for a walk. Of course, no dogs were allowed, but I figured no one would be around. After a little while, we spotted a jackrabbit. I finally got Max to see it (he was sniffing around for another one that had run into the woods) and he gave chase. This thing kept running in circles and figure 8's, and eventually looked like it was getting tired. I thought after a minute that Max was going to get it, but I think he got a little tired too. Eventually the rabbit dove into some underbrush, but Max must have chased it for 30+ seconds. Then we found another one and did it again, but this time I kept seeing where it ran to and we would go over and chase it again. We must have ran a couple hundred yards after that one. Then I heard someone talking, and I think it was just some guys out drinking beer, but they could have had something to do with the park. Anyway, I heard someone say "they're chasing the rabbits" so I got Max's attention and we ran all the way back to the campsite (another half mile or so).
After we got settled in, I convinced Max to go for another walk to explore the park behind us going the other way. There was a long trail leading down to the coast. The sun was setting into a cloud bank over the Pacific, the wind was blowing, and it was a surreal landscape all around us. We didn't make it all the way down to the ocean, but it was still one of those times and places that you know will stick in your memory. I think I'll run all the way through and around the park in the morning.
I'm writing this with a tired, happy dog asleep in the Jeep next to me, a nice fire burning in front of me, and the last shades of blue fading from the sky over the ocean behind me. What a great day. One of the best of the trip.