Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Redwood Forest

This morning we said goodbye to San Francisco by driving down Lombard Street and across the Golden Gate Bridge on our way out of town. We were making our way to the Marine Mammal Institute on Sausalito. It was the coolest place! I’m so glad our friends Susanne and Maddie told us about it. The Marine Mammal Institute is essentially a hospital where they rescue injured, ill, or malnourished marine mammals and bring them to their facility for treatment. They treat patients from up and down the entire west coast. Once the animals are completely recovered they are released back into the wild (just like on Finding Dory, minus Sigourney Weaver). Today happened to be one of two Sundays a month where you can listen to a marine biologist talk about a certain topic - this month it was mammal noises/communication. Super fascinating. We toured the whole facility and watched the baby sea lions and seals for a bit. They were ridiculously cute.

When we finally got back on the road we went in search of a ward house to attend sacrament meeting. I’d looked on the meeting locator online and thought we’d found the perfect option. However when we got there it was already over. Confused and bummed, we settled for listening to the Mormon Channel instead. By now we were headed to the Redwood Forest to see the tallest trees in the world. We first visited one of those ‘drive through a tree’ stops but as we suspected our car wouldn’t fit due to the car-top carrier. We still watched a few other cars drive through and walked through on foot.

Shortly past Eureka we stopped at a random campground to spend the night. It’s called Emerald Forest and the name is the perfect description. These giant trees and other foliage create a thick, green, almost surreal forest that is very different from the Utah camping trips we’ve experienced. We pulled in at dusk, with very little time to set up camp and prepare dinner before it was completely dark. Chase and I worked on the fire while Brian and Clara assembled the tent. We were struggling with the fire because all the wood was damp. There’s so much moisture in the air it seemed like everything, even strips of cardboard, were slightly damp within minutes… We didn’t have lighter fluid either (we will definitely be picking some up tomorrow), but we were persistent and eventually got enough of a flame to heat up our tinfoil dinners and make s’mores. Both were delish.

The air is so fresh and cool here that it’s hard to believe we were in the middle of a booming metropolis just this morning. It’s even harder to believe that we’ve been in one state this whole trip… California really is huge, diverse, and lovely.