Clouds covered the entire coast as I drove through the falling rain. One side of the road was the Pacific Ocean and on the other, hills covered in coastal redwoods. Pulling into the National Park area in Orick, I was immediately engulfed by the giant ancients and entered the Lady Bird Johnson Grove parking lot. Although it was raining, I wasn’t going to let myself miss the opportunity of spending an afternoon in this forest.
I set off into the woods both looking and feeling like Indiana Jones, fully clad in my leather jacket and bush hat. Jumping on to the trail I felt right at home, like I had been transported into one of those movies, searching for hidden treasure. Although it was raining, it didn’t seem to keep people away, a steady stream of them coming down the path. Surprisingly, everyone seemed to be wearing smiles opposed to masks. This was a welcome gift, allowing me to feel connected with everyone that I passed.
That’s one of the funny things about visiting National Parks in the off season, the fact that visitors tend to be more of the rugged type, ready to take on adventure. This seems to be much more my speed, rather than the crowds of families with young children. Especially in times like these (due to Covid) this offers a much nicer atmosphere where one is able to worry about things quite a bit less. With all of the stresses of todays world, I think finding these areas where one can feel a bit more free is quite important.
The Lady Bird Johnson Grove is dedicated to First Lady Claudia Johnson, the wife of Lyndon Johnson. Along the trail are signs with quotes captured from her days walking among the park. It is a great reminder of the work that many of the first ladies accomplish throughout their tenure. Apparently, she loved the redwoods and would come here as often as she could. It’s really easy to see why. If I was in here position, I would be coming here every time I visited California. Wait… That’s exactly what I do.
As the rain started to come down harder, I jumped inside a hollow trunk to stay dry. I laughed at myself when I did this, just like I am laughing now while writing it. It simply seems so absurd, jumping INSIDE a tree. That’s what I did though, and I felt like a child giggling to myself the entire time. I looked out on the path in front of me. I stared up into the tree that was still growing around me. I dried off while sitting there, and felt like I was one with the forest.
The trail is only about a mile and a half so the journey seemed to be over as soon as it began. The area is filled with many more hiking trails to get lost in though. One of the best parts though, are the drives that one will find along the coast.
The Lady Bird Grove is at a higher elevation and heading further up the mountain will lead away from the giants. I recommend heading up to Crescent City, staying off the highway and as close as you can to the shore. These roads are filled with giants and a breathtaking journey awaits.
Closest Supercharger Crescent City 43 mi
1000 Front St, Crescent City, CA 95531
Lady Bird Johnson Grove
Bald Hills Rd, Orick, CA 95555