Unbelievable! and Wow! Those were my mantras throughout our drives and hikes amidst the redwoods. Avenue of the Giants is a meandering parallel to Highway 101 that extends 31 miles through the heart of Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
These giants have been here for anywhere from 600 - 1000 years. As you can see in the next picture, the trunk is starting to encroach on the road (at the left side of the turn). We drove through a number of narrow spots, that sometime in the future might need to be made into short one way lanes.
The forest floor is covered with ferns, because that's the only thing that survives in the deep shade and high moisture.
If a redwood splits or undergoes some major stress, another can grow up from the base of the original, and they've been tested to have the same DNA.
Steve got the money shot of the trip:
And now, on to the elk. We stopped at various state parks in both California and Oregon, with sites named Elk Meadow and Elk Valley, always on the lookout, but repeatedly disappointed. On one hike we saw:
...but alas, no elk. I was reading ahead on our map and itinerary, and found one of the last spots to mention elk, so we decided to try one last time.
The picture above is without any magnification at all. It was like taking pictures of cows in a field, for all they were bothered by the people standing in the parking lot 50 feet away!
The velvet on the emerging antlers was cool to see, and the birds sitting on the rumps made me smile.
We tried to hike in Fern Valley, right near the border of California and Oregon, but the creek running through it was too high. To illustrate the dampness all around, the trees were covered in hanging moss:
Next post is going to focus on the coast: