Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bucket List

I have had one item on my bucket list.  Well, maybe two, but the second is on hold, possibly permanently.

The second item on my bucket list is a trip to Israel.  I would like to see where Jesus lived, walk the roads, smell the air.  But I have lupus, and such a trip--jet lag and all--would be very ambitious even were it not for the volatile political situations in the world.

The other item on my bucket list was to see the Redwood Forests on the west coast of our own country.  Last week, I did.

We flew to San Francisco.  Here is proof of it:

We were in San Francisco for a few days while Shawn worked at a trade show.  When the show finished, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge and away to the north.  Whew!  I like the country better than the city.

We drove north into Mendocino County, and came to a town called Ukiah.  There we turned left, and drove 13 miles on a treacherously high and twisty road called Orr Springs.

Eventually, Orr Springs Road descended on the far side of a high range, and (although this is what we came for) quite surprisingly we found ourselves nestled in a grove of giant redwood trees.

We did not have the hang of photographing them, although we quickly learned why so many pictures of them look like this:

And like this:

And sometimes like this:

There is practically no way to take a picture that does not show the trees to be wide at the bottom and narrow at the top.  They are that big.  Taller than I'd ever imagined.  Literally breathtaking, as in: I can't breathe and my chest hurts from the immensity of them.

We learned that it helps to take pictures with familiar objects in them, for perspective:

Here, a redwood next to Shawn (a "familiar object") for perspective.

And a bigger one, behind me.

And an even bigger one.  They kept getting bigger and bigger.

So that was our first encounter, and it was beyond my wildest dreams.  I wondered where we could possibly go from there.  But wait.  There's more.

The next day, we drove through a tree.

We visited a tree house, which was very much reminiscent of a hobbit house:

And then we drove up the Avenue of the Giants.  This is what it looks like:

You drive through grove after grove of giant redwoods, their trunks reaching up directly from the side of the road, which is wide enough for two lanes, but sometimes just barely.

Avenue of the Giants winds through Humboldt Woods State Park, where we stopped and did a few hikes, and took lots of pictures.

Shawn is standing in front of the roots of a tree that fell over many years ago.  I wonder what could have caused it to fall like that, pulling its roots out of the ground.

A friendly tree, almost small enough to hug.

You feel rather insignificant in such magnificent surroundings.

See me looking up at this tree?  Being in the redwoods does something to your posture.  Also, my glasses (which I generally wear on the top of my head to keep them handy) kept falling off the back of my head, over and over.

The sunshine was magical, dappling through the leaves and landing on fronds and ferns.  I was inclined to feel a bit like a bug, darting around beneath these silent, dignified beings with their verdant heads lost in the light above.

Trees like this were still alive, with branches and foliage above.  I think I'd like to roll out some bedding and take a nap inside one of these trees.

You can't possibly take it all in, the height, the silence, the cool shade, the lush undergrowth.  Even if you are right there, you can't see it all, and you get dizzy looking up and turning around as you try to.  Pictures fall far short.  I am overflowing with gratitude to God for allowing me to see and experience this, and to my husband for being the Lord's instrument for getting me there.

There were many beautiful, blooming wildflowers, too, and so much more, so much I could not contain my heart.

I will continue this post soon . . .


Linda Claxton said...

As you mentioned the flitting of a bee…..I would feel totally intoxicated and overwhelmed at this sight of nature. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the pics. The feeling I get when nature moves my emotions, I say that nature caressing my eyes and soul. Enjoy and God bless, Linda

Priscilla said...

I've never been there. I want to go.

Ruthie said...

The only thing I'd say about going is: accommodations are a bit tricky. We'd looked into going for our 25th wedding anniversary and decided not to, because of the accommodations issue. If you like to camp, you're golden. There are tons of campgrounds, and it would be quite special to camp amidst such beauty. However. I do not camp. Or, shall I say, my idea of camping is to rent a beach house (I take my own bedding and cook my own meals -- so it's camping, right?)

I just don't do trips where I would need to share community rest rooms and showers, and have nothing but a strip of canvas and 15 feet dividing me from the next "guest." Nope.

If you don't camp, there is not a lot to choose from in the accommodations department in the Pacific Northwest. There are places. The place we stayed in Trinidad was decently comfortable, reasonably clean, a motel unit with a kitchen. The setting was lovely, almost within a new growth redwood grove, and the location was just about perfect. However, for the price, I'd have liked it to be a little more crisply kept. The carpet was worn and stained, the kitchen seemed a bit greasy (there was mildew on the side of the refrigerator), and the bedding wasn't on very straight (although it appeared to be clean). Also, and this was my biggest gripe, they had no cell service, no in-room phones, and nobody in the front office most of the time. This presented a few dilemmas, as you might imagine. Other than that, and the noisy guests next door, it was fine.

I think you can get a nice B&B if you're willing to shell out a lot of money. Or you can camp. Or you can try to hit the middle like we did, in which case you may feel that you paid more than it was worth. On the other hand, I guess you do what you have to do to see what you want to see. The scenery in this area of the country is unparalleled.