The beach is called Simpson Beach, and Tom and I are pretty sure it the place where my father took a picture of my mother on two different trips, separated by many years. We decided to follow suit, so I now have some pictures of me sitting on a rock at Simpson Beach. The wind was doing some unfortunate things to my hair, but it is what it is. Perhaps that's why my mother was wearing a hat.
We piled back in the car for the long drive to Crescent City, CA. It was the longest stretch of coast driving yet. Watching the color of the water change, from a sort of cold green up in the north to cerulean blue in California was pretty amazing. We stopped at one beach for a stretch and discovered four horses, with riders. Must be nice to ride a horse at the seashore.
After passing through Crescent City, (Hi, Best Western--see you soon!), we made our way further south towards the Trees of Mystery. There was some serious road construction on the way, with an enforced one-lane road through the Redwoods. We had to stop and wait for a pilot car to lead our snake of cars through the construction zone.
At last, there he was--Paul Bunyan! I believe I heard he's thirty-five feet tall, and his companion Babe, the Blue Ox was with him, proportionately huge. Now, Paul Bunyan doesn't just stand there. He can wave his giant hand and he talks. This is not inane chatter. He can clearly see everybody and has two-way conversations with the guests. I suspect the operator is inside the Paul Bunyan statue, because I can't figure where else they could have been hiding him.
We ate lunch across the street at a strange little diner decorated with fake foliage all over one side (including the ceiling), and underwater scenes on the other side. That's where we sat. The ceiling is painted blue and has the bottom halves of ducks, orange feet frozen in mid-paddle.
The lower portion of the Trees of Mystery was an easy climb past some spectacular trees, Redwood, Sitka Spruce, Pine, and more. Nature at its finest--and largest--was on prominent display.
We took the Sky Trail, a gondola lift to the top of the mountain. I have a fairly strong phobia of gondolas. I don't think I let go of the wall or stopped staring straight ahead the whole way up.
You could either take the gondola back down or hike down the trail labeled "ADVANCED HIKERS ONLY--EXPERIENCE REQUIRED." Being a mountaineer's daughter, I thought I qualified. There were walking sticks available for use and I grabbed one. They weren't kidding about this trail. It was very steep and the ground was slick. Probably a third to a quarter of it involved ropes you could use as a handrail, and they were fairly necessary. I held on with one hand and controlled the speed of descent with the walking stick. I had a lot of fun, but it's probably safe to say it wasn't Tom's favorite activity of the day.
The Trail of Tall Tales was the last part of the Trees of Mystery. Stories of Paul Bunyan chainsaw-carved into massive pieces of wood.
At last, we were done and it was time to drive back through the road construction to Crescent City. We checked in, Tom went to sleep (still cooling off from the hike), and I took myself to dinner.
Next on the menu, The Oregon Caves National Monument. Same bat time, same bat channel! (Except there weren't any bats.)