We left Bend for Crater Lake National Park, it wasn’t a long ways away but it was nice to get there early. When we got into the gate of the park, there was a hitchhiker on the road and I stopped the car for him. He was really thankful we picked him up, and we got to know him a bit. His name was Brenton and he was 19, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. He was heading South from where he was living in Oregon for a while, so he was almost out of the state. It was fun hearing about him, and we drove around Crater Lake with him until the lodge, where he wanted to resupply food and stuff. There were lots of beautiful overlooks we stopped at, and the best views of the lake were around the rim, which was nice.
It didn’t take too long to get to the lodge so we stopped there for lunch and ate with him before saying goodbye and heading to our hotel, Aspen Inn, for the night to check in. Once there, we took a few hours to catch up on some things and then headed into the town of Fort Klamath for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Grant’s burrito was the size of his head, which was funny. We went back to Crater Lake for sunset and to get LED pictures, unfortunately the East side of the lake was still closed due to snow, so we could only retrace our steps from the afternoon. The mosquitoes must have just hatched, because they were absolutely swarming us as we stepped out of the car (even when we were still in the car they were like angrily heading towards us). Despite this, we got some nice pictures when the sun went down and after with the hoop at night. We were really ready for bed when we got done at 10, but had to drive a half hour to the hotel still and needed showers. We wished we could’ve just hung out all night – but hopefully these pictures are worth the effort in some way.
We checked out and realized we could’ve used more sleep than we got, but we hit the road for California and the Redwoods. Our campsite was at Jedediah Smith Redwood Park, so we got there after a scenic drive and headed back out again to the nearby town of Crescent City. It was on the ocean, so we drove to different points of interest, but it was very foggy and hard to see much on the shore. Eventually we got dinner at a local restaurant called Chart House, which was basically the best place to eat on TripAdvisor (don’t ask me why). It was along the harbor, and there were sealions sleeping on docks right outside the window, which was pretty neat and we waited to be seated, not losing faith in the place because of the décor. When their seafood came out, it left lots to be desired and it was a shame there wasn’t very many fresh options with it being SO close to the ocean. We got back to the campsite and I honestly just wanted to watch a movie and relax, it had been so long. Grant had 300 on his laptop, so we layed and watched that before bed.
In the morning, we left the campground for one more South (and more in the thick of the Redwoods). We did drive in a scenic, old-growth section of Jedediah Smith park before leaving, and walked through Stout Grove (which was very beautiful). The trees just make you feel like an ant, and like your time on Earth is so short comparatively.
While driving along highway 101, there was a place called Trees of Mystery that a guy told us to check out because they have canopy rides above the redwood trees. We paid 15 dollars each, and went in but it wasn’t as cool as expected, because the trees we flew overhead weren’t really old-growth and weren’t all that tall. It was fun to be in the little canopy though, and Grant thought it was like Jurassic Park. It was all a bit too touristy for us, but we figured we’d regret not doing it just in case it was pretty cool. We left for our campsite at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and it was lucky because we got one of the last campsites. We set up and drank some beers by our fire before cooking dinner and heading off to shoot LED pictures in the trees. There was a scenic drive that was closed off for the night, and we walked through the gate quite a ways in to find the spot we wanted for our pictures.
There is just no way to really convey how massive the trees are, and their beauty is something to be seen with the naked eye. We really enjoyed how the bark spiraled around the trees, and had so much detail in it. As Grant was setting up his camera, I took a walk by myself and really enjoyed how no one was around for miles. The trees are very prehistoric, and it is a truly humbling experience to be alone in the Redwoods.
The next day, we drove around the area to a place called Fern Canyon that was recommended to us, and it was amazing! We had to stream hop a lot through the whole walk, because it was essentially a canyon of ferns growing over a creek. Grant and I both got a bit wet in the shoes but did well to keep dry everywhere else.
After that, we went to Gold Bluffs Beach for a little sit in the sand. At night after camp meals, we made our way to Lady Bird Johnson Grove in the car for sunset to photograph more LED pictures. We saw a momma black bear and her two baby cubs! The cubs were eating in a tree and honestly looked like monkeys a bit since they were long and lean. On the way back after our shoot, we were driving in the dark and the same bear (I think) ran out in front of us on the road. Luckily, we didn’t hit her but we did stop and shine our headlights on her – I got a real nice view of black bear butthole.