After leaving the prehistoric giants behind, we continued down the road towards Klamath, California, where we met up with a different breed of giants.. these guys are giants of American folklore.
Yes! That is Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox! We posed for photos, and had a good chat with Paul. No, we had not been out in the sun too long. Paul talked to us, answered the kids questions, joked around, etc. Don’t believe me? I know, Paul is all about tall tales and exaggerations, but if you want to know for sure, then go visit and try for yourself! Tell him we say hello.
We had arrived at the Trees of Mystery… the first of three touristy traps we visited with ‘Mystery’ in the title. This site is located in the center of the Redwood National and State parks and it is absolutely gorgeous.
This was another ‘hike through the woods and read educational signs’ adventure. We put the kids through a lot of that on this trip. Fortunately, they are of a perfect age for it – big enough to appreciate running through the wilderness, old enough to read and learn from the interesting facts, young enough to have a ton of fun in the process.
This park has trails you keep to, for safety and to protect the environment, but there was still plenty to explore, climb in or on, and many things to find and exclaim over. Honor, always goofing, found this statue and said reverently, “Ooh, look, it’s God!”
Not sure what Honor is doing here, but the tree behind her has been featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. These trees are massive and very old. In this section of the forest, a large tree had fallen and not rotted away… redwood is tough stuff… it had lain there long enough for another tree to grow over it and reach a similar size and girth.
A water wheel, turned slowly by a small stream.
The Cathedral tree – apparently a number of couples come here to be married each year. How lovely!
The Brotherhood Tree – The largest tree on the property. It has a boardwalk around it to protect the ground around it. If too many people walk alongside it, the ground will become too hard and it can cause the tree to die. Unbelievable to think that something as small as footsteps can harm a tree of this size, but it’s good to see the measures taken to protect it.
This next bit was new, to us. Brad and I had visited the Trees of Mystery many, many years ago. Pre-kids. Since that time a sky-lift has been added. It carried us up, over, and through these great trees, all the way to the top of the ridge. Absolutely stunning views. We could see all the way to the ocean.
There is also a section of the trail where you can explore the legend of Paul Bunyan. Along the path are large carvings that show depictions of his life and adventures, and here and there, they’ve included narrative recordings. Push a button, hear a story.
Oh, and how green is this place? So green that even the furniture is growing!
At the end of the trail, we did the obligatory browsing of the museum and gift shop, which you really should take the time to look through. It’s a good one. The only thing we walked away with though, was a book of Paul Bunyan stories.
After this, we headed off again to find a motel to spend the night. We had not planned out, in detail, this leg of our journey as we had no way of knowing how long we would spend on the road each day, but we made our way a little further south and we found a nice hotel in Eureka.