June 17, 2012

A Drive Through the Avenue of the Giants And The Arcata Oyster Fest

We continued up the California coast via highway 1 from Fort Bragg. Chris, our Couch Surfing host, had suggested that we drive down the Avenue of the Giants. The Avenue is a 31 mile long scenic road that used to be the old highway 101. The reason its world famous is that the two lane highway takes you deep in the forest, through redwood groves of giant trees. To get there we took highway 1 until it merged with 101, and then got off on the town of Miranda exit. There are signs for the Avenue closer in, but Chris though that Miranda was where all the true Giants started.

Driving through the Avenue of the Giants
I bet I could have caught a lot of flies in my wide open mouth, with the awe that I felt the whole time we were driving. After the drive, Sky confessed that it was pretty stressful for him, pulling the trailer along the Avenue. In some places there is absolutely no shoulder, and in others, the trees lean over the shoulder, and there is no wiggle room for bad judgement on the trailer width. :o) How awkward would it have been if we'd piled into one of these historic, thousand year old trees with our trailer...

Tiny trailer among the Giants
If you look closely, you will see tiny me, to the right of the huge tree 
Hiking around Humboldt Redwoods State Park
 Here is a video I took while hiking just off of the Avenue:

The Avenue of the Giants is located in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It is truly worth the visit,and doesn't cost anything to drive on the scenic road. If you plan to stop for a picnic, there are several state park day use areas, but from what we saw, they all charge a day use fee. We figured the $8 was worth it, and stopped at one of the stops. It was right on the Eel River, which runs along the Avenue of the Giants. Chloe and Sammy had a great time running around on the beach and swimming. Who cares about huge trees when there is water to enjoy? That's Chloe's point of view.

Sammy enjoying hot stone therapy on the beach
Chloe drying off after swimming in the Eel River
After our picnic we continued up highway 101, past Eureka, to the city of Arcata. Arcata is the home to Humboldt State University, and has a quaint downtown area. We arrived just in time for the 22nd annual Oyster Festival. If you're going to get some oysters along the coast, this is probably one of the best places to get them; Arcata serves up 70% of the oysters consumed in the state of California.

Cooking up oysters
The crowd at Oyster Fest
Oyster Fest was a mix of  oysters served up in all fashions, family activities, live music, and plenty of hippies. We saw some really lively characters on the square. Here is grandma, who won the most spirited award in my books:

Grandma, at Oyster Fest
The next morning we took the dogs for a hike in Arcata's city park, the Redwood Park. No biggie, just a stroll through a normal city park, WITH HUGE REDWOODS ALL AROUND YOU. This portion of the forest was logged, so its not old growth, but you can still see remnants of the giants that grew there. Their stumps are everywhere you look. It was a great way to start the day.

Hiking around Redwood Forest in Arcata
Mind if I take a seat?
To see more pics of the Avenue of the Giants and Arcata, click here.

Happy Giants,


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