We arrived in Cave Junction and set about to look at the town. It is a cute little touristy town with plenty to see and do for its population of slightly less than 2000. There is a place filled with whimsical and delightful wood carvings of all shapes and sizes. It was closed, but we stopped to take a look. There is also a big cat park, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Cats_World_Park We decided to stop in. It was too late for the full tour, but we got an abbreviated tour for an abbreviated price. Each cat or pair of cats has it's own 1-1.5 acre enclosure. The guide told us that many of the cats are used for movies and photo shoots so there is a lot of interaction. She would go up to the fence, call the cat and give commands. She carried around a fanny pack full of raw meat to reward the cats. Some was beef and some was what she was careful to call 'equine'. The kids would have been fascinated to think of horse meat, but it seemed weird to tell her to go ahead and call it horse.
It was a really cool visit. The cats would snarl and growl on command. It had a significant physical effect for a full grown male lion to growl at you from 2 feet away. If you are ever in Cave Junction, look it up. It's hard to miss.
The next day we got up and drove South into California. After about an hour and a half of driving we ended up in Jedidiah Smith Redwood forest. Our first stop was Stout Grove. It is a serene and amazing grove of large redwood trees and easy walk from a parking lot. Very picturesque. Lots of people, but still quiet.
We skipped past that to an obscure trail I heard about and hiked 2-3 miles back through more redwoods, passing no people. We weren't sure we would find it. Since we knew we would be hiking a while, I carried Max on my shoulders most of the way. Michael again walked. He is a trooper. Eventually we found it.
The Grove of the Titans.
These trees are so amazingly huge and majestic that I cannot adequately communicate it in words. I have pictures, but they don't really do it justice. We wandered about the grove through 6 foot tall sword ferns looking at the Titans. Sarah's phone battery was dead so we didn't get as many pictures as we wanted. I got turned around and missed the Lost Monarch. The kids were tired and started getting grumpy. Had it just been me, I could have stayed there for hours. Someday I hope to return and do just that.
Also reminds me that we should really buy a good camera. The phone does a good job, but it isn't a dedicated camera. Maybe someday. After we hiked back out, we got lost on one of the more public and crowded trails. There was a rather ambiguous sign. It added a mile or two to our hike. Easy peasy on the rarely used backwoods trail. Get us on the well trodden trail and we get lost. Awesome.
We drove a dusty dirt road through the forest and ended up in Crescent City. Then we headed South again to find one of the Drive Through trees. We drove the Civic through the tree. It was a good day and one I will remember for a good long time.
We drove home and got some rest. The next day was back North Northeast and on to Crater Lake.