Trees of Mystery

Klamath, California

.

We took a short trip up to Eureka to visit my Uncle Doug & the Fam. I’ve not seen Doug for 3 or more years, so I was excited to go! The drive was something between 6 and 8 hours, since Dad was driving… but at least as a passenger you get to sleep!

The drive is pleasant and the last 32 miles before you actually get to Eureka has a detour called “Avenue of the Giants”,  which meanders thru redwoods and random small towns no one has ever heard of. Literally, population 7, and there is a small rundown school-type building, a general store, and a few shanty style houses…  If you didn’t catch the sign as you speed by, you would never miss it.

.

.

I’ve got a 20-month-old baby cousin I’ve never met, so i was anxious to arrive. When she was born she refused to let anyone other than her mother hold her, I’m good with kids generally so I wasn’t too worried. Grandma said every time she tried to hold her she would make a little hiss noise. lol.

She is completely adorbs!

In my opinion, she resembles my mother, both in her looks and temper. She’s a star, commanding the center of attention no matter how many people are in the room. A complete ham!

.

.

We actually got there before dark, with perfect timing. Grandma had a hearty beef stew simmering for most of the day, which was ready to serve by the time we got there. It was excellent. And, after dinner and getting settled Uncle Doug took us downtown for a quick tour.

Eureka is in Humboldt County. Weed country. As you would expect, life moves in a much slower, chillier pace.

Most of the shops had curled up their sidewalks and turned in for the night – even though it was just before 8pm on a Saturday night and there were plenty of possible customers milling about.

There was an interesting little store that had mostly handmade art, there were a lot of hand-crafted glasswork and jewelry, decoupage boxes and treasures, various religious icons and statues, and handmade sugar skulls and dia de los muertos figures, tiles, and collectable. I bought a sugar skull to decorate myself, which I haven’t done yet, but I hope it will look something like this when I’m finished with it.

.

 

photo

.

On the way up, we’d seen a billboard for “Trees of Mystery”  which is located in the center of the Redwood National and State Park. Check it out: http://www.treesofmystery.net

Advertised on the billboard is something called “SkyTrail”, collectively we decided that we should do this. The skytrail looks like a zipline car, like an enclosed ski lift, that pulls you up among the treetops, to a lookout with views on all sides of the treetops, hills and mountains, and yes – even the ocean.

Driving up to The Trees of Mystery we saw a herd of Roosevelt Elk sitting to the side of the highway, just chillin’. We found a small turn out, and took the opportunity to observe and snap some pix. No fencing, there was no farm, there was no reason for them to be that close to the road. The large beasts sat there, resting and grazing – uncaring of the cars and people gawking at them.

.

.

There is NO WAY to miss the attraction exit. None. It’s literally smacks your in the face.  A chainsaw-carved 50 foot Paul Bunyan & Babe statues greets you, standing next to a gift shop and Indian museum. Dahlia’s blooming everywhere! And even a small café where they make their own fudge! Yum!

We packed a lunch, however, and ate from the trunk…

.

.

.

.

For 14 bucks we saw the entire exhibit (including the SkyTrail). You walk into the trees on a well-laid path, there are some rather interesting Redwoods. Carvings. Displays. Everything is covered in moss and ferns!

.

.

.

Their pride & joy is the cathedral tree, which is 9 trees that over the years have grown into one much stronger tree, my pic does not really do it justice, but you get the idea. As you’re walking you can hear an organ, funeral/wedding-ish music wafting through the gigantic trees. The music comes from speakers set in the display of the cathedral tree. Occasionally they do perform weddings here, it takes more than ¼ mile to hike to this spot of the trail… it isn’t a difficult hike, but I wouldn’t think that’s an aisle walk many people would want to take, apparently they do!

.

.

The Sky Trail

.

.

.

.

The gondola does not stop. The rig looks like a big electric pully that lifts you into the air to mingle in the treetops. The bucket powers through the trees trunks, the engine roar is loud, and abruptly stops. If you’re not expecting the stop its a bit jarring and its so quiet, everything is lush and green. We spent most of the ride up looking for animals down below, which remain perfectly hidden thanks to all the ferns and brush covering the ground. The gondola picks up speed and climbs some more, before repeating the same abrupt stop a little higher, and finishes with a slow crawl to the top.

Everyone had a lovely time on the SkyTrail, except for Leela, who was not impressed at all and let everyone in the gondola know this!  The trip up to the treetops takes about 9 minutes, and once you get up to the top there, you are let out onto an observation deck.

On the day we went, it was overcast and hazy with the possibility of rain — at any moment. But the view was well worth the trip. These are the views from either side of the observation desk:

.

.

.

We descended and finished the woodsy trail, in classing “attraction” style, the end lets out just near the museum and shop, so you’re in a perfect position to buy things.

Overall, The Trees of Mystery is a pleasant way to spend half a day with your family. The hike to the gondola’s is about 1/4 mile and not too steep, even bad knees can make it up there. After the gondola ride and the deck viewing, the remaining path the gift shop and museum is also another 1/4 mile.

On the way down, the trail is a visual  trip thru the life and times and myth of Paul Bunyan, told thru the magic of wooden chainsaw carvings and displays. The carvings are ornate  and detailed and most of them are very large, they did not photograph well… hence no picture. But I think the most interesting thing about them, is the chainsaw-carving – how does one control a chainsaw enough to carve a figure? I suppose it must be like ice carving? I don’t know… i must google this.

If you are in the area and need a pretty distraction, the Trees of Mystery might be the one for you!

.