Saturday, July 16, 2016

Some California Highlights

This post was a team effort. Get comfortable, because it's a doozy. You have Felicity to thank for procuring Mom's journal so that we knew what she did when, Lily to thank for finding and selecting the photos, Bethany to thank for thinking up captions for the photos, and Julie to thank for typing most of the text.

We dolls recently got left behind while the humans went on vacation. We're used to this - they do it nearly every summer. This summer was different, though. Instead of just spending a week somewhere an hour or so away, they flew to the other side of the country!

We know there was no room for us in the luggage. Mom had trouble squeezing in the basics into her rather small suitcase as it was. Still, it kind of stunk that while they were all gone having the time of their lives, we were stuck here. We made the best of it, camping out in the backyard a couple of nights, watching movies on the big screen TV upstairs, and riding the horses both inside and in the backyard. After a couple of months having to always be on the lookout for Nala, it was great to have the place to ourselves. (Nala got a little vacation of her own - she was boarded in a kennel.)

July 3: Travel Day 
Our aunt apparently took photos from the air, but Mom didn't. 3 flights and 4 airports later, they arrived in Arcata, California!

July 4: Ma-le'l Dunes Hike
alien planet?
dune plant life
hello, Pacific Ocean
July 5: Trinidad Head Hike
looking down at Trinidad Beach
the town of Trinidad
this seagull really wanted the otter's fish
July 6: Moonstone Beach and Agate Beach
Moonstone Beach
Some of the group went surfing here. Mom, who is (overly) cautious about big waves, just watched, admired the many loose dogs roaming around, and explored the beach.

Agate Beach
Tons of smooth, round rocks wash up on Agate Beach. Mom spent most of her time here collecting cool rocks. She even found some agates!

a flock of seagulls on Agate Beach
July 7: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Stop 1: Hiking Big Tree Trail
looking up at some giants
so much green!
a redwood growing on a fallen redwood
  • Stop 2: Fern Canyon
it's aptly named
a closer look
scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed in Fern Canyon
July 8: Tide Pools in Patrick's Point State Park
at high tide, this is the ocean floor
sea anemones close when out of the water
some of the anemones in the pools were open
Blobby the starfish
tiny starfish (and our aunt's finger for comparison)
crabs love to hang out in the cracks of big rocks
seals lounging on rocks on the other side of the point
July 9: Mom's Cousin's Wedding <3

 July 10: Hike to Windy Rock in Trinidad
Spiky, somewhat spooky pine trees.
Most of the hike was in forest.
Windy Rock
looking over the edge
surf crashing on the rocks
talk about dramatic views!
July 11: Heading South
  • Stop 1: Humboldt Redwoods State Park
No straying from the trail! Poison oak was thriving here.
Some family members ahead of Mom on the trail
give you an idea of just how huge these trees are!
When stressed, redwoods grow big burls on their trunks.
Coast Redwoods are the tallest trees on earth!
A crystal clear stream we crossed. The water strider bugs cast cool shadows.
Anyone care for a dip?
  •  Stop 2: Supper at the Samoa Cookhouse in Samoa, CA!
Whoa! What are the odds?
The cookhouse was part restaurant part lumber industry museum. Mom and family were treated to a huge fit-for-a-lumberjack family-style eating experience. 
Mom's favorite old photo: U.S. cavalry members posing by a huge felled tree.
The tree is actually a Sierra Redwood, found farther south in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Sierra Redwoods, or giant sequoias, are the largest trees in the world, while Coast Redwoods are the tallest.
 July 12: Wedding Rock Hike
on the way up
the view from the top
it's a long way down!
Farewell, west coast!
Evening July 12 - Morning July 13: Traveling Home
We know, we know. Losing cabin pressure is a serious matter.
But this diagram... It had both Mom and Grandma cracking up
during the safety demo.
Hey, it's the Golden Gate Bridge!
The plane that took them from San Francisco to Chicago was enormous - 9 seats across! Because it was a long nighttime flight, they got pillows and blankets. <3 Between the uncomfortable seats, the overly-air-conditioned cabin, the wails of a special-needs person whose ears were popping, and making sure her own ears didn't make any big pops, Mom didn't ever sleep, though.

By the final flight, it was well into morning! Though the seats were more comfortable on this plane, Mom still didn't rest - she lucked out with a window seat and couldn't tear her eyes away from the view.
almost home!
To finish, we'll show you Mom's souvenirs!

  • The shirt came from a local-product gift shop in - you guessed it - Trinidad. It's really soft. <3
  • The starfish was already in dried out form in a gift shop. Don't worry - Mom took nothing but pictures while visiting the tide pools.
  • The TSA people at the Arcata airport searched Mom's carryon on the way home because of the "crystalline object." XD It's glass with a fake but very pretty jellyfish suspended inside that glows in the dark.
  • The little rocks are the agates Mom found on Agate Beach. They vary in shade but can be distinguished from the other rocks on the beach because they are really smooth and transparent. (The one at the top left has cloudy sections, but we think it's still an agate from its extreme smoothness.) Mom took home other cool non-agate rocks home too that aren't in the picture.
  • The smiling otter with the fuchsia sea urchin is a cute magnet that Mom couldn't resist.
  • Finally, the wooden object in the middle has a dual horse head design carved on it. We aren't sure if it is made of redwood or some other reddish wood - there was no information on it but a price sticker. The top slides off to reveal a little mirror, making it practical as well as pretty.

You made it to the end! Congratulations! =D

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