After 4 months of purging, organizing, and cleaning the house plus a fair bit of time planning this trip, we are both feeling so much lighter. We've done a great many road trips, but starting this one was different, it felt a bit like that first cold beer after a Half Dome hike. I think we were both in a bit of shock when we finally pulled away at 5:04pm, 3 hours later than we had hoped. It meant we arrived at Clear Lake State Park in the dark at 9pm, however, the silver lining was by the time we left, the rain had stopped, and we had mostly sunny skies while the sun lasted.
We had pushed back our departure by a day, so we only spent one day at Clear Lake SP. We had a good walk around the next morning but didn't get to do the exploring we had originally hoped for. Clear Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake entirely in CA and it's in a lovely setting. The park is 20+ miles away from the town of Clear Lake and it's your typical CA State Park, lots of facilities, great campground and everything is very well maintained.
Our next stop was Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which is near Weott, CA and only a short 142 miles drive. We enjoyed the drive through this sparsely populated area of Northern CA. Most of the time we were on 101, which meanders along several large creeks before picking up with the South Fork of the Eel River. Lots of canyons, some cliffs, and lots and lots of flowing water, which sure was nice to see.
Once we exited off 101, we found ourselves on the Avenue of the Giants. A 31-mile drive, much of which is within Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home to the largest remaining stand of old-growth redwoods in the world. The park is both a World Heritage Site and International Bioshere Reserve and it’s to see why, what a special place. Our campsite is tucked into a magnificent grove with a fast-running creek behind us and with no one next door, the view can’t be beat. We had a quiet evening, glad to be snuggled up in Two Sheds with a big cold front and lots of rain coming down on us.
Our morning stroll around the campground uncovered many magnificent examples of how unique and special this park is and why we owe a great deal of gratitude to those who worked so hard to preserve it. From the trees themselves, to the whole eco-system that is created on those that have fallen, it’s just nature at her best. We drove the southern portion of the Avenue of the Giants and had a nice walk around the Williams Grove Day Use area. With Lola in tow, we aren’t allowed to go on any of the trails, but we did swing by a couple of the auto-tour stops to absorb more awesomeness.