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Amanda in this huge tree (same one as in the previous photo.) Seriously. You could live in that thing and have separate rooms for your whole family.
This was a tree that was upended decades ago, but look at how crazy-thick those roots are! Of course, they'd have to be to support trees hundreds of feet tall.
Amanda crawling through a hole in one of the stumps. It's just so cool how the trees are big enough that you can crawl through them.
Breakfast! A tiny yellow mushroom. It was probably 2" tall, maximum. Super-cute.
These mushrooms were so weird. A log had fallen over the trail so I was standing under it, looking up at these mushrooms. I guess they grow down towards the ground and then curve up again into the tree? So weird.
Banana slug! A Santa Cruzian treat! Seriously, it's the mascot of UC Santa Cruz because the darn things are EVERYWHERE. Given the complete lack of wildlife, we would get really excited every time we saw a slug. I think during the whole day we can across six or seven of them. The only animals we found was a tiny fish, two-three salamanders, and crab or snail that was also potentially just a pebble or an acorn in the water. Also, one bug landed on my leg for a moment. Otherwise, there was nothing.
At the top of the mountain we were climbing was a pretty meadow. It was much drier than the surrounding damp forest, and as you can see, no redwoods. It was almost completely taken over by pine.
It was also REALLY HOT. Down in the redwoods you needed a sweater because it was quite chilly, but once you stepped into the sunlight it was time to strip everything off because it was toasty.
Sign from about halfway into the hike.
At the first waterfall we ran into a group of guys making breakfast. They had spent the night out in the woods (consuming lots of Captain Morgan) and were now making eggs and bacon and potatoes. Their breakfast smelled so good, if a little late (it was already noon by the time we reached them.) That guy in the blue jacket was the spokesperson for the group.
Under waterfall #3, getting my butt soaked. Seriously. I kept sitting down on damp logs, or splashing myself, or finding the only bit of mud to perch on. My butt was wet all day.
I like the photo, tho'.
The undergrowth of a redwood forest. Pretty thick for California standards, but sparse compared to the old forests in Europe. I've heard. I would love to go hiking in Europe one summer...
The big waterfall that everyone comes to see. Naturally, I can't remember its name. Golden Cascade Falls, maybe? If you looked at it at just the right angle, you could see a rainbow.
This was so much cooler than you can tell. This trunk was massive, and had a tunnel right up through the middle so you could climb from one end to the other. I was scared to go all the way to the back where it was pitch black (no flashlight...what if there was something icky back there?) but I made it to the halfway point, where there was a hole to let a little light (and air!) in.
Redwoods sometimes grow in families, like this one. There were five or six massive trunks grouped together. I thought about trying to get higher up in the split for a better photo, but I'd already hiked eight or nine miles by this point and I was tired. If we go back and hike the trail in reverse, getting to this point toward the beginning, I'm totally gonna try to get as far up the split as possible so I can put my toes on one trunk and my fingers on the other trunk and practically fly.
Hmmm. If I'm really gonna try to do that, I better get some upper body strength.
Amanda in the same grove of trees.
Random sky shot. I thought it would be pretty, but of course it's impossible to gauge the hugeness of the trees in any of these photos.
The Santa Cruz coastline from Highway 9 as we were heading home.