Among the Giants
"Why aren't you at work?" I sternly asked my friend Ted.
It was early Monday morning, the second of March. Ted had just climbed out of their camper, parked next to ours in a campsite at Wrights Beach on the California north coast.
At first Ted looked puzzled with my question. Then a grin lighted up his face. "That's a good one!" he answered.
The joke was that this Monday was Ted's first day of retirement. Going to work was a thing of the past. And not only for Ted, Mrs. Ted started her official retirement in mid February. The days of toiling away at a career were now over for both of them and the days of waking up and sitting on a glorious beach watching the waves were just beginning.
"I want to go to the Redwoods!" Mrs.Ted announced during a visit to our home several weeks before. We were talking about where they'd like to go on their first trip in retirement. They so graciously invited the Lady and me to come along. We rendezvoused Sunday night at Wrights Beach to start the adventure.
Ted was in perfect form and brought fresh crab for Sunday supper.
The Lady supplied the tablecloth. I didn't know we owned one.
Monday morning was wonderful as first light hit the ocean.
Ted, the retired traffic engineer, worked on mileage calculations to our next destination.
Then he relaxed with his first breakfast in retirement.
Following the mandate of, "I want to go to the Redwoods!" our next stop was Humboldt Redwoods State Park, where we stayed two nights at Burlington Campground, the only campground open in the quiet season. A beautiful Redwood grove was across the Avenue of the Giants from camp, as was the South Fork of the Eel River.
We walked among the giants and explored along the river. The Teds were like happy kids!
The Lady and I sleep well on our camper adventures, like death we often say. This first night at Humboldt Redwoods was no exception. The Lady stirs to life, wiggles before dawn and we often lay in suspended slumber as first light builds. Around five-thirty a strange howl came from the direction of the river. I had never heard an animal sound like this before. It rose in pitch and then descended in pitch. The howl was repeated three times. It was not answered nor were any additional sounds heard. Was it bigfoot? No way I'm jumping to that conclusion. I classify it as a UHO - Unidentified Howling Object.
We spent the day leisurely exploring the state park. Our first stop was the Hidden Spring Trail down to the South Fork Eel River. The now three happy retirees took direction from their photographer.
We knew the greatest hazard we faced was a sore neck from gazing skyward at these towering giants.
The old stone work on the trail was excellent. We wondered if this dated back to the depression days and the Civilian Conservation Corps?
The Lady was first to the river's edge with her see mores and quickly pointed out a river otter swimming upstream.
The otter pulled out onto a log and took care of necessary grooming. An otter has to look good.
We got back to getting sore necks.
Our next stop was the Big Trees area along Mattole Road. We wanted to see The Giant. The seasonal bridge was not in place across the creek. A fallen giant provided a high passage across. The Lady helped an elderly couple cross on the tree. The down climb off the end was difficult for them. I complemented the Lady for helping the old folks and instantly got the "They could be younger than us," response.
We also stopped at the Tall Tree. The retirees remained in an obliging mood.
If you are curious, and you should be, this link provides information on the actual largest and tallest Coastal Redwoods - Sequoia Sempervirens