Thursday, August 18 - Woke up at Fort Bragg, and felt unusually sluggish. We had the hotel's breakfast (and it was good to have a decent cup of coffee again!), and then headed on the way. The previous night, it had gotten quite foggy as we approached Fort Bragg, and initially, it was still a bit foggy. Still, we had to get going, and so north up the coast we went again. Within minutes, we caught our first glimpse of the Pacific, which was a surprise, since neither of us had realized just how close to the ocean we were! So, we stopped and took some pictures, as well as some video. It really was beautiful, and the coast was rugged which, again, is pretty much what you expect for the Pacific Northwest. We continued driving north, and once again, we were into the woods, with really big trees, and very curvy, mountainous roads. Last night, we had mostly been going down, but this time, we were climbing up. The going was slow as a result of the curvy road, but we grew closer to Leggett, the town with a drive thru tree (the Chandelier Tree), which was one of the things that I had always wanted to do when visiting the Redwoods. We got there, and it really was amazing to finally see these enormous, majestic trees in person. They were all around this particular patch of land, and we both drove through and walked through the Chandelier Tree. We spent some time there, and then headed north again, towards the Avenue of the Giants. This was something that I had heard about for years, although it was not exactly what I expected. To be frank, I am not sure what I expected, but it was probably something along the lines of entering Redwood country, and pretty much all of the trees from that point on being Redwoods. But that was not the case, and the really big trees came in patches. They were beautiful and, again, incredible. You could not see the tops, which was amazing! Unfortunately, the highway (101) was nearby, which made it feel less remote and peaceful then I had imagined. Still, it was amazing to be here, and it felt like such a tremendous privilege! Eventually, the afternoon was growing late, and we had a lot of driving to do to get to Bakersfield. And so we set off, enjoying the northern California landscape while it remained daylight. We stopped in Sacramento for dinner, and this was more or less the point from which it went from daylight to dark. The rest of it was blissfully uneventful driving on Highway 99, until we got to Bakersfield, checked into our hotel, and called it a night. But the memories of being in the Redwoods, of finally seeing these truly magnificent trees, really was making the trip feel like a success already, this early into it!
Look at how big this particular redwood is, and how small my son look by way of comparison!