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Redwood National Park, CA

Something pretty cool happened to me a few weeks ago; a woman started conversing with me while hiking in Point Lobos. When she learned that I am a home designer, she got very excited explaining that she had been looking to work with a designer for a while now. She interviewed some but couldn't connect with anyone. However, she felt this was meant to be and asked if she could hire me. She was on vacation but lives outside of San Francisco. Since I know I will pass her house on the way to Redwoods National Park, I gave her my card, but I asked her to please check my work and read my reviews. The personal connection with my clients is crucial as I incorporate their emotions into my designs. I take pride in adapting to my clients. Yesterday I stopped by, and in five hours, a makeover of the foyer, living room, and dining room gave her a brand-new look. It was super amazing to have my ultimate vision come to life. How wonderful it would be to keep my creative mind working while traveling! The funny part, Therese invited me to be her guest for the night, and I did.

I am thrilled to be back on the road again. I have a few hours of driving before getting to the Avenue of the Giants scenic route. My landscape is of dense forest mountains, and I love it! When it is time for a break, I appreciate being forced off the main road because there are no open rest stops on Rt 101. I ended up going through a little town that I otherwise I would never see.

As I drove through the Avenue of the Giants scenic route, I stopped at Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center. The ranger recommended I take the Gould Grove Nature Loop Trail and Founders Grove Nature Trail Loop. Walking among those giant trees makes me feel so tiny in a giant way. I'm fascinated by the texture they wear proudly, evidence of the years they were standing here, and the history they are carrying. My neck hurts from trying to find the end of each tree! :)

I wish I could stay longer, but I must find a place for the night before darkness falls. I am not comfortable yet waiting until the last minute. If the campground I am heading to is full, I need to keep driving. I get to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park campground and am surprised it was not full. I was worried about that. The thought I would be the only one there never comes to mind; even the Ranger is gone for the day.

Challenging myself with no reservations is good practice; I need to get familiar with the feelings of uncertainty. I know the more I put myself into those experiences, the easier it will become.

The campground is not far from the road, but at one point, silence takes over the campground. The only sounds are the songs of the birds singing me a lullaby. What pure joy! I have no fear or worry, just pure joy!

It was so good being back in my own bed. I slept so well that night that I overslept, which was unusual.

It is a foggy morning, with the gray skies casting a chill through the air, but still the feeling of freedom warms my heart. My first stop today is Lady Johnson Grove Loop. There's something mystical being in this forest with giant trees and mysterious fog. I'm almost looking for the fairies to come flying between the trees.

I get to Elk Prairie Campground around noon, hoping for a camping site. It would be a perfect place to camp since the hike I am so looking forward to, James Irvine Trail and the Fern Canyon Loop, starts from there. Unfortunately, they can only let me know if any site is available at 2:00 p.m., which puts a bit of dampness on my plans, so I take the time to cook a hot meal for lunch.

I am relieved I was able to get a site, and now I can go for a nice long hike to see Big Tree via Karl Knapp and Cathedral Trees Loop. After seeing all those big trees, how big can this one be? Well, that's definitely a big tree! I can't even imagine the root system of that tree and how far it extends underneath the earth.

Around five, a steady mist of rain started. That is a surprise since I checked the weather for the next few days just before I lost service, and rain wasn't on the radar. Unfortunately, the rain got heavier at night and into the early morning. As a result, my plan to hike James Irvine Trail and the Fern Canyon Loop is off the table for today. The hike is around 12 miles and is considered a moderately challenging route; hiking an unfamiliar trail on wet ground for so many miles will be unsafe. However, I decided to stick around the area since I am not willing to let go of this hike yet. I will need to find a new campground since Elk Prairie Campground is full for the next two days.

One of the advantages of not having reservations is the flexibility to change my plans. Today I will visit Trees of Mystery (a park and tourist attraction) in Klamath. I enjoy walking up the Canopy Trail and riding the Sky Trail gondola. It is so cool being so close to the canopy of the trees.

I do find a quiet RV and tent campground on the Klamath River. I do hope the weather tomorrow will let me hike.

The fog is still hanging around this morning. By 8:30, I'm on the James Irvine to Fern Canyon trail. I am glad I stuck around to hike this trail. The redwood trees are framing this hike with the lush ferns at their feet. I hear the ocean in the distance when I get closer to Fern Canyon. I keep hiking toward the sea, but I decide to skip this part when I get a glimpse of the blue ocean in the distance. I am already 5.5 miles into the hike and still need to return.

The Fern Canyon loop is beautiful. The walls of the canyon are covered with vibrant green ferns. This section of the hike is a fun, challenging obstacle course created by the fallen trees and the crossing of the river stream.

After hiking over 11 miles, it is time to move on. I will get to Oregon tomorrow, but I still want to explore more of the Redwood NP. The Redwood National Park is comprised by three state parks. The last park is Jedediah Smith Redwoods, so I am heading in that direction for a place to camp for tonight. On the way, I see a sign for Mill Creek Campground and decided to check it out. They have a spot, and I take it knowing my chances to find any availability at Jedediah Smith campground are very low.

On my last day in the Redwoods, I finally have blue skies! I get to Jedediah Smith State Park to hike Mill Creek Trail. Ten minutes into the hike, I get to a point where the summer bridge that is supposed to be there is not up yet, so I go back to my car to change into my hiking sandals. Yikes, the water is so cold, and getting up to my knees! I end up crossing and taking a different trail along the Smith River. What a beauty!

It is time to say goodbye to my giant friends and start my adventure on the Oregon Coast.

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