May 20, 2013

Bucket List: Redwood National Park, California

Photo by jdlasica
Long before I pieced the words 'I like' and 'hiking' together in a sentence, I wanted to visit Redwood National Park in northern California. At that time, I guess I didn't envision any kind of camping or hiking as being a part of this trip (or any trip, actually)--and by no means does it need to be. I very nearly drove through it with my aunt on a road trip we took in 2007, though for circumstances I can't really remember we ended up skipping it.* I'm not sure how a backcountry experience here would compare to driving through (in places like the Grand Canyon and Arches the backcountry offers completely new perspectives on the parks... would this be the same?), but there's something very exciting and special about experiencing places that few others are likely to go.

So why visit Redwoods? Well to start, there are few places I know of where you can drive through a living tree. Redwoods have diameters of 10-15 feet, and grow shockingly tall (as of 2006, the tallest living tree in the world was a 379.1 foot redwood in RNP--read more on that here). Maybe growing up on an apple orchard or being read books like The Giving Tree have led me to place overly emotive attributes on trees, but it's hard not to feel awed by perspectives like this**:

Plus, I'm pretty sure I'll one day need to dress up my child as an ewok... which will most definitely require a trip to Endor/Redwoods.

Here are some additional links to inspire your own travels:

*For the NPS list of driving route options, click here. Or see info on the 31 mile Avenue of Giants here.
**For an awesome interactive timeline by National Geographic, click here.

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