Northern California's Green Coastline
Up on the northern coast of California is an awesome place called Fern Canyon. In June 2017, I made a trip along Hwy 101 with my adventuring parents. We were able to meet up with my bro and sister-in-law for a hike down to the canyon walking the James Irvine Trail from the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Beautiful redwood area—some of the best roads to drive and trails to explore are here.
The Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park may not have the biggest redwoods, but because of this it's much less crowded—and besides, ALL redwoods are very big trees. I've always been a waterfall and mountain kind of guy, but this trip brought out a strong love for big trees to add to my nature faves.
Sections of Jurassic Park were filmed here & i definitely get those feels!
Starting from the nearby beach, you walk up a narrowing creekbed eventually into a corridor with fern covered vertical walls on both sides of the pebbled creek path. Makeshift wooden walkways bridge the shallow streams which snake through the route.
Trees of Mystery
If you've seen Disney's A Goofy Movie, this place feels a lot like the destination Goofy wanted to take his son to—remember? I had to look it up—it's called Lester's Possum Park—That awkward place sustained by the nostalgia infused memories of parents that never moved on; That's the best way I can describe it... This place is not that bad, but it made me laugh just how much Trees of Mystery felt like that kind of place! That's the legendary forester Paul Bunyan and his mythical blue ox. With a speaker in the head of the statue, a hidden old guy would startle kids with the booming voice of Paul commenting on something specific like what they're wearing or when they do something like climb on his boot. Anyways, this place somehow has a lot of mysterious trees in strangely close proximity—different things like knots growing in weird places, a perfect half-circle of trees (called the "Cathedral Tree"), and trees growing vertically from a turned-over trunk.
In the back is a very cool gondola lift that takes you up above the trees. At the top end of the ride, a sign which says "Experienced hikers only" gives you the option to take a trail back down the hill. Now, considering this place was built for kids and the fact that we are all very experienced hikers, this warning caused a spur of laughter—that joke was short lived when we found how serious this trail was! It was so steep and muddy—I'm glad they had suspended rope lines or there would have been a few tumbles. The hilarity of how ridiculous this trail is was at the forefront of the minds of the few people banding together with us; Seeing me, one guy exclaimed to his struggling party, "Hey look at this guy! He's going backwards using the rope to rappel!"
On the coast less than a mile on the other side of the road from Trees of Mystery is a hidden beach called...Hidden Beach. It was a misty day shrouding a ship-like rock which has a single tree on the top. Very difficult to climb and surrounded by the rising tide, I kept thinking, 'That'd be a good spot to hide some pirate treasure!'. The hidden trail we took out here was particularly dense with beautiful new growth (in the pictures below).
It's a BURL Gallery
In Oregon close to the California border is this place which could only have been started by a really cool creative adult who never grew up. It's a woodworking studio and wood-creations gallery + really cool free access multileveled tree forts!
This definition of what a burl is pretty much describes this place: a rounded knotty growth on a tree, giving an attractive figure when polished and used especially for handcrafted objects and veneers. A wooden bicycle, wooden fountains, unique burl artwork, and of course some tikis—this place has the most creative wooden creations you'll ever see!
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