The third day of our New Years road trip adventure, we begin in California. Humboldt bay shines on this winter morning, so white it shimmers like a mirage in the deeper areas. After breakfast, we decide to stick around the area and drive to the South Jetty, along the mudflats that comprise the driveable portions of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Surprisingly, we initially only see warblers and black phoebes flitting around the cool waters. It isn’t until we reach the jetty, bumping along in our small car, that we start seeing other wildlife. White-tailed kites, black-bellied plovers, gulls, least sandpipers, white-tailed deer, and a lone coyote go about their morning routines along the roadside.
With a long drive still ahead of us, we head south to the Redwoods. We’ve already driven through several smaller groves, but we want to experience the Avenue of the Giants.
As advertised, the trees are so indescribably tall, with a circumference 10 people couldn’t fit their arms around, that my perspective breaks and everything seems like it’s just a shrub after visiting the Founder’s Grove.
The drive through the Redwoods is on a holiday weekend when most people are staying inside, so the drive is very quiet and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is cut short by our cat, who has decided to ingest a good portion of a sweater in our absence and needs surgery to remove it.
Knowing the cat is in good hands at the emergency clinic, we make two more short stops on the way home: the Mad River Delta and a random fisherman’s wharf which is teeming with fishermen and more shorebirds than we’ve seen thus far on the trip.
Though our trip to the Redwoods was shorter than expected or desired (we only spent a half day in the area), it is a drive everyone in Northern California should take at some point, if only to reset their perspective about the world.