Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Vacation Part I: The Redwoods

Recently my brother and his wife came up to visit before they move to Texas for his smanchy-fancy job and we planned a fun trip down to the Redwood Forest, and then back up the Oregon Coast. We had an amazing time and saw beautiful things and I'm about to tell you all about it. I don't want the post to get too long and I want to fit in all the pictures, so today will just be about the first half of the trip to the Redwood Forest.

Day One:

Monday morning we woke up early for the eight hour drive down to California. It was long, but good. Brigham was really excited to go to California because he's never been there before. We learned that Ammon has the same motion-sickness issues as Lydia. We gave them both Dramamine, but by time we got to the extremely curvy roads that welcome you into the Redwoods that my dad likes to test speed limits on, it had worn off and he lost his lunch while Lydia curled up in a ball in her car-seat and tried to block all consciousness out. Luckily both our kids are pro pukers; Ammon just whined he didn't feel good, we handed him a bag, he did his business, handed it back, and we were on our way. Like it's an everyday thing. Cool.

Anyway, on the way to the house we stayed at, we stopped off on a short, super fun hike to get our first taste of the giant trees.

We spent a long time relaxing after the long car-ride and climbing on the giant trees. The climbing on all the giant trees is the best part of the Redwoods!

We finally made it to our house later that day in Crescent City, which is just outside the actual Redwood Forest, and my Mom did an amazing job in her pick. It was right on the beach and the views were amazing. I didn't really take any good pictures of the view, but this is a close up of what part of it looked like:

And here is a picture of our house from the beach:

After we settled in and ate dinner, we went down to explore the beach by our house.

To get out to the water was treacherous, as we had to climb over lots of slippery rocks. Lydia was wearing sandals and had a particularly hard time, so we slipped around on the rocks together. Not to mention it was actually really windy, foggy, and cold so the poor girl was freezing. But we were excited to find starfish and to enjoy the scenery. Later most of the adults went to a nearby beach that had actual sand and waves, instead of the rocky bay at our house, but it was still super windy and cold so we didn't stay long. We were just happy to let Brigham get a taste of the ocean.

Day Two:

We left early the next morning to check out southern Redwood Forest. I didn't think we would be driving long, but the curves were wicked and my kids weren't doing great again, so we had a puking in the parking-lot incident with Lydia at the Tree of Mysteries museum we went to. It was mostly her freaking out about getting the motion-sickness medicine down (it tastes REALLY really bad and makes both kids gag every time they take it) but I started to wonder if this would be an every-day occurrence on the trip.

After that ordeal, we went to check out the museum and chatted with our friends guarding entrance at the museum: Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Brigham figured out that when you talked to Paul Bunyan he talked back! The kids really enjoyed asking him questions about everything, and gave Babe a hug before we left.

The rest of the day was spent hiking.

Everyone loved climbing in the huge-hollowed out trees and we would count to see how many people we could fit in one. The picture above looked just like Peter Pan's hideout with the Lost Boys. The Redwoods is a great place to foster the imagination.

Since we spent so much time hiking, Ammon and Lydia's little legs wore out and they would walk so slowly we had to find ways to encourage them to keep going. First we held hands with them to pick up the pace.

Then we distracted them to keep their minds off their aching legs by having them collect rocks and sticks. The only problem was that Ammon wanted to walk with the biggest sticks he could find and that REALLY slowed him down. So finally I told him that if he wanted to keep a stick he couldn't fall behind, so he started running ahead of everybody down the trail just like this. I didn't tell him how he had to bring his stick, just that he couldn't get behind, and this is how he chose to carry his "stick".

People would pass us and say, "Is that your little cabin builder running down the path ahead?" "I think your little boy is proving his strength." "You're losing your little boy and his log down the trail."

He ran for a long time down the path with his log held high above his head and we could not stop laughing. He finally discarded it later down the path and started choosing smaller sticks. Then we had eye-poking-out problems, but that's just little boys, know what I mean?

As a reward for the kids hiking so well that day, we took them to the park in Crescent City that night and while they played with Uncle Ryan, Kenny and I walked out on this long jetty out into the bay.

The concept of the jetty was so strange to Kenny and I, and we talked about how they built it and it's purpose, and had a stimulating hour walk (it was really long).

The most bizarre thing at the end of the jetty were these weird cement creatures that we couldn't figure out what they would be for, why they were shaped the way the were, and why there were all piled up at the end. This picture doesn't show the weird tail things they had, and they were all number differently. I had a blast making Kenny roll his eyes at all the weird stories I made up about why they were there.

He, in turn, gave me a heart-attack by tripping over a long wire across the cement on the way back and almost falling off the jetty and bashing himself on the boulders and splashing into the water. But he caught himself in time. No more walking on the edge Kenny!

Day Three:

Wednesday was our final day in the Redwoods and we started early again with probably my favorite hike of the trip. It had some of the really big trees that we could climb all over.

We found a small path down to a creek that was dammed into a pond with branches to climb on all around it and we spent a good half hour here.

Ammon threw rock after rock into the water until the older boys came along and tried to splash each other by throwing in huge rocks. Brigham got soaked climbing over top while Kyle threw in a giant boulder.

On that same hike Brigham and I found a tree that had our initials carved into it. It was our tree!

That afternoon we spent swimming in one of the most beautiful swimming spots I've ever seen. The water was dark blue-green and you could see so deep because it was so clear. Not to mention the scenery was breath-taking.

We took turns as the adults, and left someone behind with the kids as the rest of us went swimming upstream to some cliffs and rocks we jumped off of. It was some of the most fun I've ever had.

In the above picture, Brigham is climbing up the cliff across the way. It doesn't look high in the picture, but it was! He was the only one of us to jump off it. The next picture shows his splash from jumping (I couldn't time my picture-taking quite right). It was probably a forty-foot fall. The rest of us only braved about fifteen-foot falls.

Swimming in the river was the last place we explored in the Redwoods, and we all later agreed that it was probably our favorite time. From here on out we were traveling up the coast.

The Redwoods were gorgeous, just as I remembered them, and the company was great, though we were missing a few people. Who doesn't love days filled with hiking and evenings full of games together? I sure do. Stay tuned for beaches and more fun times!


  1. how awesome! ive never been there but i really want to- what a great time with your family (except the puking)

  2. This sounds like the best vacation ever. I have always wanted to go there as well. I have the hunger for a nice family vacation and this post did not help. I am glad it was so fun and can't wait to read about pt.2