WARNING. this post contains one zillion pictures of redwood trees, the ocean, and lidkids.
as we normally do at any national park, we first stopped at the visitor center to get junior ranger books, advice and the lay of the land. redwood national and state parks is different from most national parks because, as the name suggests, it’s a cluster of national park land and state parks. so, aside from the national park junior ranger program, there are several (dozens, really) patches you can earn by completing redwood edventures quests. i don’t know how all of them work, but the ones we did were short, kid friendly hikes, following along with a little guide that gave extra info about stuff along the way. at the end, we had to answer a little question, or find a clue, to prove that we completed the quest.
the first quest we went on was the one for the national park, taking us up to trillium falls. isaac didn’t want to go and i didn’t want to force him, so it was just the girls on this one. we learned about about nurse or nursery logs along the way. they were everywhere. basically, when a tree falls, it makes an incredibly fertile nesting ground for new growth. like natural planting boxes.
redwood trees are crazy tall. the tallest trees in the world. having just come from sequoia not too long ago, it was going to take a lot to impress us and they did. the old growth forests are like a fairy tale.
after we figured out the answer/hidden clue, we decided to complete the loop, taking us another two miles or so (versus just turning around to head back). i’m thankful we did, because not too far past the waterfall, another hiker pointed out this banana slug to us. it was so cool. and sort of gross. and we stood and watched it for a bit before moving along. (it’s about 6 inches long, in case you cant get an idea of scale).
for our second quest, we decided to drove a little bit south to patricks point state park, which i guess isn’t technically part of the redwood national/state park cluster but still participates in the edventure quest thing. we hit up the visitor center, to get our official quest brochure and then hit the trails. this quest took us on a 1.5 mile or so stroll along the rocky coast at patricks point and wedding rock. it was super foggy, but we still had pretty great views.
from there, the hike took us “inland” to a giant rock that we could climb to the top of. the idea is that eventually this rock will be a sea stack sometime in the very far away future. we took obligatory photos. and collected our clue.
we headed back over to the visitor center. collected a new patch (and subsequently lost one of them) and headed home. quest two complete.
for our third quest, we waited for derek to get off work one day and went to the prairie creek trail for another easy stroll amongst the redwoods. the kids are sort of getting tired of walking around big trees, but this hike was totally worth it.
we reached a point in the creek where we had to find a clue and answer a question. nearby, there was some sort of device that monitors salmon activity, and even though we couldn’t quite figure out how it worked, it was still cool. and it was pretty.
we decided to continue on the loop for another 1.75 miles (instead of turning around and going back .75 miles). and, i’m proud and surprised to say, it was a unanimous decision. we stopped to climb in more hollowed out trees.
we had a bit of excitement when the two big kids almost stepped right on a little garter snake. and then some other excitement when hazel wet her pants and i stripped her naked and rinsed them out several times with water before making her put on cold, wet pants for the rest of the hike. good times.
so. ever since the girls and i saw a banana slug earlier in the week (and just a few minutes ago in this post), derek has been so jealous. he wanted to go on this hike specifically because it runs along the creek and is the most likely to have a banana slug sighting. we were almost back to the visitor center, and still hadn’t seen one, when the trail split to go up to cross the road, or under a weird bridge and along the creek. derek opted to go under, and what to what did his wondering eyes did appear? a banana slug!!
we rolled back up the visitor center and collected our third bit of patch flair.
and thus concludes my tales of redwood edventure quests. one more redwood post (for this round) coming your way soon…