Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Yesterday, I took my children to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. It’s one of the oldest state parks, and one of my favorites. It’s known for its dramatic waterfalls, majestic redwoods over 300 feet highdramaticredwoods.jpg, and the rare wildlife that thrives in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I used to put Kelly in a backpack type child carrier, but she’s getting to be too big and heavy for it. So I deliberately chose the easiest, toddler-friendliest trail I could find for our hike. The Redwoods Trail, right next to the headquarters is nearly all flat, well-groomed and just a little over 1/2 mile. Even so, it manages to provide a nice sampler of Big Basin’s beauty. Near the beginning of the trail, Opal Creek runs alongside. On this day, the sunshine through the canopy above made for sparkles of light which you can’t see in this picture, unfortunately:

opalcreek.jpg

It’s also an “interpretive” trail which means for 25 cents you can buy a piece of paper that explains interesting facets of nature you can check out as you walk along, such as the burls on a tree, or trees with hollowed trunks (perfect for hiding in!) We could hear birds chirping and frogs croaking. Kelly particularly loved a blue jay (technically a Stellar’s jay) who followed us for a while along the path.jay.jpg

I’m sure it was because he was fascinated with the sunflower seeds Kelly was clutching in her hands. I picked up any seeds she dropped, so our pal figured we weren’t worth following after a while.

Big Basin Redwoods is usually pretty cool, but I hadn’t factored in the mountains=snow equation. The puddles from the recent rains weren’t iced over, but even in our sweatshirts and jackets, we felt the chill. On our way driving home, as we crossed Saratoga Gap , one of the high points in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I saw some patches of snow.

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