Katie is in charge of selecting some serious redwood sightseeing for us to do today. She settles on the nature trail at the Simpson-Reed Grove, which turns out to be a wonderful choice. The nature-trail loop takes us on a mile-long walk through lush greenery of old-growth. It's hard to imagine one could ever grow tired of looking at this beautiful forest.
We enjoy our stroll through the grove, admiring the towering trees, the emerald ferns that carpet the forest floor, and the peacefullness of it all. Redwoods must be one of the most serene places in the world.
Katie spots berries growing near the parking lot; she and I taste them in spite of Dawg's chiding. "What if they're poisonous?" she says. Turns out they were salmonberries, and quite harmless.
The grove is a lovely way to spend a morning. We head south to Klamath afterward for a little more tree sightseeing, this time of the kitschy variety. The Trees of Mystery is a good old-fashioned highway tourist trap, and we simply MUST get pictures of Paul Bunyan and Babe there. We visit the gift shop and spend a little time out front laughing at the Voice Of Paul (some guy who sits behind a microphone & interacts with the crowd; he is especially good at mocking small children) but we decline the chance to walk around in the Trees of Mystery park itself. As Dawg points out, why would you pay $13 to walk in some trees when there are perfectly good trees for FREE just up the road?
By mid-afternoon we're kinda hungry, home-made fudge at the gift shop notwithstanding. Dawg 'n' Katie heard about the Samoa Cookhouse from someone on the flight to California, and it's only about sixty-five miles away. They wanna try it for a late lunch! YEAH! This is the place I sort of wanted to hit on our way up from Sacramento, but didn't get a chance that day, so this is GREAT with me. We take off south and find the place, located on a peninsula near Eureka, and settle in for lunch. The Samoa Cookhouse is the last surviving lumber-camp cookhouse on the west coast, and has been in continuous operation since the 1890's. Cookhouse-style meals means there's one thing on the menu (today it was southern fried chicken, served with three-bean salad, mashed potatoes and corn, plus strawberry cake for dessert) and they will bring you food until you don't want any more, all for one price. It was TASTY :) and quite cool to see the old building and the stuff in the attached little Logging Museum as well. In fact it was a lovely ride down to Samoa, except for one little bit along Hwy 255 where liquefied manure was being sprayed on fallow fields. Thank goodness we were well out of range of any drift spray but the stench was still unbelievable. It was immediately nicknamed the Fountain of Poo, and we had the misfortune of going past it twice, once on the way out to the peninsula, and again coming back inland. Ew.
On the way back to Crescent City, we spotted a great big herd of Roosevelt elk a little south of Orick, but there was no good place to turn off the road. That herd looked like it was made up of males; their antlers are quite impressive. Apparently the boy elk and the girl elk don't hang out together at this time of year. It'd be a good guess the girl elk are not in the immediate vicinity but not that far away. So we went a few more miles up the road and turned off at one of the prime elk-viewing sites and sure enough we found the girls, who let us take pictures with our zoom lenses as they placidly nibbled on grasses in their meadow.