posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jedediah Smith State Park

After this most fantastic week it was time to say goodbye to Oregon and welcome  California. I was meant to have a long ride to Prairie Creek State Park today but once crossed the border I crossed a signpost and realised that Jedediah Smith State Park was a stone throw from where I was; having read about it several times and being  famous as the campsite with some of the largest redwood groves, I couldn't resist the temptation and decided to alter my plans. I veered inland, cycling on highway 197 which was quiet and most interesting; soon I caught the first glimpses of huge trees that left me pretty stunned and in awe.  I arrived shortly after lunch, with plenty of time left to explore bewildering huge trees, some higher than hundred metres and older than 2000 years. The hiker biker site by the river was very remote and the season being over and having left my cyclist friends on the coast, it turned out I would be alone for the night. In the main part of the campsite there were a total of a dozen people; after having been in busy campsites with always other cyclists around it was time to feel a bit lonely! I could take my pick  and chose a fantastic spot with my tent pitched right under four enormous redwood trees!
Solitude turned into a bit of jitteriness and unease as I saw far too many signs warning how bears were frequently around the campsite and even more concerning a few posters informing happy campers that mountain lions recently started to like the place too! Every spot had a very large metal bear box to store all food and scented things and if it had been just a little bigger I would have contemplated shutting myself into one, leaving all food in the tent instead! Darkness fell and I felt very small among this towering tree groves; weary of so much silence I switched on my radio to its loudest setting not to hear the daily news and weather but rather to scare off any ill-intentioned beast lurking around! Soon it was time to try and forget all this gloomy thoughts and enjoy a peaceful night rest!