Trail: A trail in Prairie Creek State Park (I think we did Big Tree Loop)
Ranking: number 10
Where: within Redwood State Park, California
When: April 2011
Cost: The National Park is free, but this state park falls out of the NP area. I cannot remember the day -use fee we paid in 2011, and researching it on the internet is getting me no where. But do expect to pay. Camping in California State Parks costs $35! That is more than any other state I have camped in.
Who: I was with friends, a guy friend I have known for nearly 20 years, and his wife.
First of all, I can't believe this hike, and the whole adventurous week, was nearly FIVE years ago. I was pregnant but didn't know it at the time. My body didn't even know it yet.
Have you seen the part of Return of the Jedi, which is filmed in a deep and beautiful forest? It’s the part where Luke and Leia are getting away from Storm Troopers on these buzzy little hovercrafts, and then eventually fall prey to the cute little teddy bears called Ewoks? Hans might have been there too. I hope I remember this hike better than I do the movie.
Anyway, I am pretty sure the scenes from the movie were filmed in this park. I think I actually heard this somewhere, I am not just jumping to conclusions based on how beautiful the park was.
We had spent the night before camping at the Jediah Smith Redwood State Park. I highly recommend this lovely campground, even if it is just for car camping. I woke up in a great mood, and ambled around during that first hour of sunshine, taking a million pictures. I was probably still on East Coast time. The weather was beautiful that day. (I had expected the Pacific Northwest to = lots of rain, but that week we didn't have any).
Then we went down to the visitor center in Crescent City. We asked the rangers there if they could recommend ONE hike in the whole park, a short and not too strenuous kind of hike, what would they recommend? And one happy dude gave us directions for the Prairie Creek visitor center/state park. He also talked nonstop about the Tsunami that devastated Japan, and how it also hit on this side of the Pacific, right there in Crescent City a month before.
On the way to we did the obligatory drive through a tree. When we arrived at Prairie Creek we stared at the base of these trees – I could fit my whole apartment inside the trunk of a tree! And then we ate sandwiches for lunch from our cooler and stared more at the trees. Afterwards we took a hike. I cannot tell you the exact name of the hike we took, but it was not far from the visitor center.
The hike through the fern covered forest was amazing, and the temperatures were on the cooler side, not hot. I wanted to hug every tree. The world was dazzling green and brown,with spots of bright sunshine, and nothing in between. It was like everything was ripe and alive – no time for weeds or dead looking overgrowth. The plants, if you looked closely enough, were often soaked with dew still. I kept looking up, then tripping. I would not have thought anything of it if a leprechaun or wood sprite came around a corner. This was a whole new territory for me.
This hike is an easy one from the get go, but there are many break off trails – so one could make the hike as hard as one wants, if they keep adding trails and loops. If I lived out there, I would have every trail memorized, much like I do Crowder’s mountain.
Honorable Mention goes out to the hike we took later, down the road, at Lady Bird Johnson Grove. This hike was not as brilliant green/brown/green/brown like earlier, but the trail did have some ginormous redwoods.
This area is a place I would LOVE to take Brycen camping in, if I have the chance!