My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Giants of the Coast

Okay - Redwood trees are HUGE!!! They are the tallest trees in the world (> 300 feet in most cases) and are very old (many > 1000 years old). Alaska is so majestic and beautiful, but our trees back home are put to shame by the mighty Redwood.

After leaving the Oregon Caves we entered California & found a hike within a state park. Boy Scout Tree trail is a 3.1 mile trail (each way) through the majestic giants. The tall trees allow little light to filter through to the forest floor, so the temperature is very comfortable for a nice hike. I was worried about the boys going on such a long jaunt, but they quickly settled into their own game - it was fun listening to them along the way. Orion had a bow and arrow while Iain carried a cross bow. They were on the look out for shadow & tree monsters. Sunlight orbs and Earthquake levers kept us safe. Just following them and listening to their imagination unfold and create a magical world was enlightening. For all the time I spend worrying they are influenced too much by the media, peers, and video games, it's reassuring to know they can easily engage their active imaginations. I must remember - everything in moderation.

We camped at Elk Prairie State Campground. This was the first campground we encountered that was almost at capacity when we arrived. The campground is near the coast & bordered on the east by land frequented by wild Elk. Our camping neighbors were Herman and Candelaria Zapp, the couple who've driven from Argentina to Alaska back in 2003. They are currently on a new journey to Asia. Pretty incredible - their car is a 1928 Graham Paige Model 610 touring car, and they are traveling with their 3 small children (all of whom were born in their car, I overheard). Our road trip pales in comparison to the distance they are covering. They are financing their trip from odd jobs along the way and selling their book, Spark Your Dream.

Wednesday morning, before our departure for the 400 mile drive to Sacramento, the boys participated in the Junior Ranger Program. The focus of the morning's program was banana slugs. We had seen one during our hike the day before, so the boys were anxious to learn more & earn a Junior Ranger badge. The Junior Ranger program is a great way for kids to learn about state and national parks - we try to participate in the program at each park we visit, if possible.
Here's what the kids said they learned about these invertebrates:

1) They breathe and 'poop' out of the same hole. So glad I'm not a banana slug.

2) Raccoons eat them, but first roll the slugs around in dirt. They do this because the slug contains some sort of chemical that numbs the mouth when you eat it. The dirt supposedly helps alleviate this numbness. I think this might explain why some folks lick the banana slug (a popular activity at 6th grade camp, so I hear).

3) The banana slug is the mascot for UC Santa Cruz - ooh, so frightening!!

I also finished a bit of knitting along the way (you knitters out there are soooo patient!) I present Celtic Braid Sock #1:


1 comment:

Diana said...

I love Banana Slugs! Now I'm home sick. My family would camp in the redwoods when I was a kid and as I type this, my mother is currently camping in Memorial Park, a Redwood Forest south of San Francisco.

Bud and I were just telling our boys about banana slugs 2 nights ago (no lie) and they thought we were kidding. We're head down in a few weeks and I hope to find a real live one for them to see.

P.S. I almost went to UC Santa Cruz & loved that the Banana Slug was their mascot. Oh yeah, and I love Santa Cruz.