Subtitled: Redwoods and Elk and Seals, Oh My!
Day 7 - What an exciting day!!! We left Crescent City a bit later than intended, knowing that we were driving into the region of the redwoods, and that we would want to take our time and enjoy the experience.
What can I say that hasn't been said already about these huge and majestic trees? Yes, they are HUGE! They are majestic, and tower over the other trees in the forest, dwarfing everything nearby. We must have stopped along the road half a dozen times or so, just marvelling at these giants of the plant kingdom. I had to try hugging a tree, not even the biggest one around - and I don't think I covered even one-fifth of the tree!!! (And I have a 65" wingspan!!! (That's 1.65 meters.) So the tree's circumference must have been well over 25 feet (8 meters?)!!!
Plus these trees are TALL!!! They seem to go on forever, nearly touching the clouds!
Some of these trees are estimated to be about 2000 years old. They've been standing in the same place growing for over two millenia!!! It really seems unbelievable, and makes us humans look as tiny as ants. And so insignificant with our short lives.
The redwood forests also have this incredible perfume, somewhat like cedar forests but even sweeter! A little tangy but sweet, fresh and definitely a green scent. SO yummy to breathe in all that tree perfume!
These forests are also SO QUIET! The forest floor is carpeted with the tiny redwood leaves that are almost like evergreen needles, at least 2000 years of redwood leaves - so walking through the forest is springy and vaguely bouncy. That thick carpet absorbs sounds. Plus the trees are so tall, the birds seem to stay up in the tree canopy, so on the ground we can't hear them. Truly silent, except for the occasional car or logging truck chugging by.
It was like being in another world, surrounded by silent giant trees that live life at another speed, almost in another dimension.
It was incredible!
We've been seeing signs for elk through much of Oregon and now in California. And I've been looking for them everywhere.
So as we were driving along, enjoying the forests and views of the ocean, we saw an elk sitting in the front yard of a campground! We couldn't stop, so had to drive up, turn around, drive back. Amazing! This huge male elk (referred to as a bull elk - stags are deer only) was just sitting there, next to some fenced off trees, and posing for photos. Okay, I know he wasn't deliberately sitting there waiting for the people who showed up and took photos. But he definitely didn't seem to mind at all!
I mean, he looked straight into the camera! What an amazing shot! (Camera shot - I reassured Mr Elk that I wasn't going to hurt him.)
And yes, this is a wild elk who just happened to sit here. One local guy said that the rest of the elk herd of females was probably nearby, in the forest or lying in the meadow. So while they were grazing, the male was resting his eyes.
One of the people who was looking at Mr Elk told me that there was a large herd of elk elsewhere. We got directions, and eventually left. However, by the time we got there, the elk had already moved on. The woman who was working at the RV park came out and said yes, the elk had been there earlier, but had left. Ah well, that's what makes sightings of wild animals so special, it's all about being in the right place at the right time, and luck.
I hope to see more elk as we continue to drive south. We've heard that there usually are several herds a bit further south, closer to Mt Shasta.
As if the day had not been exciting enough, at our last leg-stretch stop, we walked along the tops of the bluffs and looked down on the beach, spotting two groups of seals lying on the beach!!! The groups were on opposite sides of an estuary, just basking in the sun to warm up after swimming around. I was told years ago that seals have fur and fat insulating their bodies, but they still need to spend quite a bit of time out of the water every few hours to warm up. Most of these seals were sleeping, but a few hopped in and out of the water. I don't know how else to describe the jumping sort of movement that seals make to move - it's something of a clumsy hop.
So yes, redwoods, an elk, and seals, all in one day!!! (The seal statue was in Crescent City.)
We're currently in the small town of Arcata, just slightly north of Eureka. As always, we'll move along tomorrow.
And a quick note to our observant readers - yes, we seem to be having a problem with the blog background. Not sure if the site is having a problem, or if it's slow wifi here in our hotel. Will try to fix this at our next stop.