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Redwood National And State Parks 2007 Trip

Day 4 of 5

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Saturday, July 7th
Enderts Beach hike

The main park entrance for Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is off Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, a 10 mile scenic alternative to Highway 101. Even if you don't have time to camp or hike at the park, the drive on this road is worth the small detour. Once again, the fog had rolled in (in fact, it had sprinkled lightly in the morning), creating a beautiful effect on the redwood forest. The road is one lane in each direction, with 100-200 foot trees on either side. There's not much traffic, and I had to just stop and take some pictures. In fact, I even took some short videos.

Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway

I tried sliding open the sun roof, which is something I like to do on such scenic drives, but I forgot we had the Thule rack on top so I couldn't see anything. I would love to bike this road some day. It would be fantastic. Barring that, I hope that we'll return to this area and do some hikes from some of the trailheads off the road. The $1 park map shows several trailheads in the area.

After enjoying the drive, we rejoined highway 101 and headed up to Crescent City, about 25 miles north. Along the way, we passed through Klamath, where you'll find giant statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox, guarding the Trees of Mystery. We skipped the tourist attraction and kept going. Once in Crescent City, we stopped for gas and at a grocery store (I saw a computer store where I might get a memory card, but it was closed). We then headed back south along Highway 101 for a couple miles and did the Enderts Beach hike.

After the hike, we returned to Crescent City for some ice cream, then headed south back to our camp. Of course I took the scenic route again. We arrived just in time to visit the small park gift shop just before it closed. We decided to return in the morning to check it out further.

After dinner, we did make it to the night's ranger campfire program. The outdoor campfire center is a short walk from the camp sites, and is quite nice with sturdy benches and a large screen onto which the ranger projected from a laptop. For those of you who don't wish to walk (and with two young children we didn't), there are parking spaces near the campfire as well.

Tonight's topic was bears. The ranger started out with some trivia questions, such as the fact that we've logged 96% of our old growth redwood forests, the tallest trees (redwoods), the biggest trees (sequoias), and the oldest trees (Bristlecone pines). As for the main topic, note that despite the fact that the grizzly bear is California's state animal, the last grizzly in California was killed in the 1920's. So the main focus was on black bears, of which there are tens of thousands in California. Apparently they were a problem in Prairie Creek Redwoods about 15-20 years ago, ripping up cars and going after human food. This is why the park installed all the bear boxes and educated park users -- there are signs posted on every picnic table. It appears to have done the trick, as bears do not seem to be as much of a problem in the park anymore.

Another interesting thing the ranger said was that in the unlikely event that a black bear attacks you, fight back. I'd always heard that you should play dead, since the bear is faster and stronger than you are. But I guess that probably applies more to the larger grizzly bear. Let's hope you don't have to find out. I've had three encounters with black bears, and never felt threatened, although I was a bit freaked out when I saw the shadow of a bear across my tent once and couldn't hear his soft paws on the ground.

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