What a magical place. Just hearing those words automatically brings excitement to my entire being. I am transported in my mind to the dense forests and surrounded by these towering behemoths. I can’t get enough of the area. The whole area is what dreams are made of. If I am ever close, I make sure that I go a little bit out of my way to spend a day or two among the giants. This adventure was a little different though and I think I found what quite possibly may be the perfect loop for a days drive and it starts out at the Eureka Supercharger just north of The Avenue of the Giants.
The morning will start with getting a full charge in Eureka. The supercharger there is nothing special, located at a mall right by the local Walmart. It’s a great place to get your car loaded with goodies for the day. Once ready, head south on the 101 until Stafford where you will exit onto Avenue of the Giants. This drive in and of its self is otherworldly.
Suddenly, you will be surrounded by trees thousands of years old, some as tall as 350 ft. It’s always hard for me to describe how enormous these trees are. Saying they are huge simply doesn’t give them justice. Saying that they are some of the biggest living organisms in the world starts to give one a sense of scale. No matter, there is nothing like seeing them in person.
You can stop at any of the trailheads that the local state parks offer along the way. My personal favorite is “Founders Grove”, but any of them I’m sure are just as magnificent. It is truly an amazing feeling walking through these forests and getting lost in them for hours is quite easy. The trails weave through giants so big you can walk inside of them and their limbs reach out across the sky providing a damp shade across the entire ares. Mixing with the low hanging coastal clouds, a rainforest like atmosphere is created, further bringing the magical ambience to the park.
Eventually, you’ll get to Myers Flat where you can stop for some coffee or a bite to eat. Down the road you can stop and see Hobbiton USA, an old roadside attraction based off of the famous book. Not much is left of it besides Gandalf and Bilbo, but it is still fun to stop by. This is where we turn around, heading back to Mattole Rd and going towards another grove called “Tall Trees”. Here, one can relax by a river while basking under the ancients. A felled tree creates a bridge across the river and leads to a path into the trees. Another place to get lost in the wonders of the forest.
And this is where the journey got interesting. I had been to all the previous locations on past adventures and usually turned back towards AotG. The road continues the other way, heading towards the coast, but with no way to set waypoints and check how much battery I would use heading off the beaten path, I never risked it. This time I went for it and headed further down Mattole Rd. The giants continued to tower over the road, gradually thinning out as I started to rise in elevation.
Then, seemingly without warning, the trees opened up and I was surrounded by vast hills rolling off into the distance. The fall colors kissed the horizon and green grasses that started near flowing streams, gradually turned into drab browns and oranges as they reached up into the hills. This picturesque landscape extended as far as I could see, but I knew the ocean was close as I could hear the crashing waves in the distance.
For the next hour, I sat on the side of the road reading my book and taking the day in with this wondrous world open out in front of me. I felt so humbled in the moment and had a hard time reconciling the fact that just 30 minutes ago I was surrounded by redwoods. This is the magic of California, its diverse ecosystem.
I continued on my adventure and soon found myself on a beach, right at the oceans shore. The waves crashed along the coast and huge boulders sat vacant, inviting the random gull to come take rest.
I knew that my day was soon to be done as I was only about 20 miles from Eureka, but I felt like that was an entire world away. Along with it, were my worries and cares. That seems to be an apt description of my life. I start out in a town, surrounded by people and the world as we know it. I am able to walk around observing people and all I can see or feel is stress and anxiety. Especially with the constant mask wearing, it’s hard to even see a smile or have a connection. It’s hard to feel welcomed by anyone.
Then I am out here alone with nature and all I can feel is well being. All I feel is wanted. The world both cares about me and could care less, all at the same time. Yet it invites me to always be a part of it opposed to people who always want to change others to fit their view.
I enjoy lines of thought like this while I’m in the middle of nowhere.
Shortly after, I found myself back at the Supercharger in Eureka wondering how I had missed this loop all the other times I had been out here. It really was the perfect loop, and I can’t wait to drive it again.
Avenue of the Giants North Entrance
Jordan Rd, Scotia, CA 95565
Closest Supercharger: Eureka Ca
3300 Broadway St, Eureka, CA 95501