Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rocks, Russians, and Redwoods

Every fall we take a week long trip to...somewhere. Usually it is to the Central California coast. This year we decided to head north to Fort Ross and on up to Humboldt Redwood State Park. Every moment there is an opportunity to learn. Having lunch in Rio Vista next to the Sacramento River had many such opportunities including...
...watching a barge come up the river and underneath the raised bridge. What a sight! You would expect to see this in the Bay area but not going up the river to Sacramento.

Our journey to the coast was uneventful. Mabel, our trusty GPS unit (hubbie's second wife!),was not so trustworthy as we wound up Hwy 1 along the coast. Imagine a 30+ trailer being towed by a fifteen passenger extended van manuevering up and down and around the coastal edge of California. What a ride.
When we did arrive in the Fort Ross area we decided it would be a good idea to find a place to hook up for a couple of nights. We had no worries about finding a vacancy since it is the off season. We found a gem of a place called Stillwater. It is a county park with no hook-ups but nice spots and great bathrooms.

The next day we walked down to the beach where the kids had great fun getting stuck on rocks, splashed by waves, and seeing how much sand they could collect in their crocs.

Hmmm...I wonder...

...yep...that's what I thought would happen.
Grandparents: we, in no way, endangered your grandaughter's lives. The pictures look much worse then the actual event.

On our way back from the ocean we took a walk to this old, original schoolhouse. Hmmmm..the schoolmarm looks rather familiar and so do the kiddos!

Our afternoon was spent up at Fort Ross. What a beautiful fort this is. There is only one original building left. The rest are all reconstructed to look like the originals. They did an incredible job. Fort Ross was a Russian/American fort that was used to gather supplies for the Russians living in Sitka, Alaska. The Spanish were not too happy to see them here but the fort was so well built that the Russians were pretty much left alone.

While in the church we all sang Gloria Patri with a touch of harmony. What beautiful sounds echoed through the old building.

Bombs away!

As Boo and I basked in the afternoon sun on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the other kiddos went down to Sandy Cove beach with Hubbie to do some tidepooling. Brown Sugar got to hold a starfish. Lil' Cowboy was not too sure about the whole idea. The older kids jumped roped with a nice long piece of kelp and they even spotted a couple of jellyfish.

The Russian Orthodox Church has a very old graveyard not very far from the park. The kids took some incredible pictures of this area. I believe Daisy took this one. We found out what the symbolism of each bar on this cross means: the top bar signifies the plaque that Pilot had nailed above Christ's head saying "King of the Jews", the middle bar signifies the place where Christ's hands were nailed, and the bottom bar signifies where Christ's feet were nailed. Interesting fact: the bottom bar used to be parallel with the other two bars. There is no good reason why it is slanted now.

Well, this is our new vehicle. As stated above, it is a fifteen passenger extended van. The kids are all enjoying having a window seat again. We do a lot of traveling and many of those trips require long hours in the car. Having a bit more room to spread out helps.

And, here is the lazy D bunkhouse! It really is our home away from home. We love living in this trailer. I call it my Bellagio since it is such a huge step up from our 1984 24ft trailer. This has four bunkbeds in it for all the kids and three wonderful skylights to let in a lot of bright light for my failing eyes.

We have a lot of traditions and this is one of them. We take a picture in front of every state or national park sign. Sometimes the camera is on a tri-pod, a rock, or even the hood of the car just so we can get this picture.

As Hubbie and I walked to the Visitor's center, we realized that it was exactly twenty years ago that we visited this park. We were newlyweds then and now look at our family! The Lord is good! The tree trunk above fell the year we visited. One of the dates that the kids are pointing to is the date the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and another was the signing of the Declaration of Independance. Amazing!

Not a lot of my pictures turned out on this trip mainly because the trees cause the forest floor to be really dark. This means that if you don't use the flash then you have to hold the camera incredibly steady to get a well focused picture. I did not have a very steady hand that day but the picture above did turn out....I love it.

This picture kept coming out blurry. Hubbie became so frustrated that he made me get in the picture and he took it instead. I am so glad he did because he captured what I was trying to. This tree was once the tallest tree in the area. When it fell a neighbor to the park said that he heard what he thought was a train I guess if a tree falls in a forest when no one is around that it really does make a booming sound.

This is the Eel river. You would never know by looking at it that yearly it becomes a roaring tyrrant. On Christmas Eve of 1964 not only did it flood but because the ocean tide was at an incredibly high tide the river backed up until this area was flooded to over twenty feet deep.

Most of the Redwoods are filled with people trying to make a buck off of cheesy uses of these incredible trees like the tree house (a five bedroom house hewn out of the middle of one tree) or a "museum" of carvings (think wax museums but using trees instead). Thankfully, the majority of the older groves are protected by the state. The Immortal tree is no exception. This tree is almost eight times taller then our house!

Well, pictures don't always give you great depth perception so you will have to use a bit of imagination here. See the fish symbol on the tree? That is how high the flood waters in 1964 got to. Amazing isn't it?

While we were walking around one of the groves we met up with a park ranger, a photographer, and a lady who seemed to be rather important. I can't place her but it seems like I should know her. Anyway, they were filming for a special public school online classroom of the redwoods. They asked if our family would like to pose for some pictures. All pictures had to be of us looking away since using our faces would mean a lot of silly paperwork. So, who knows, you might see our pictures on the California State Park site one of these days although you might not know who it is because it will only be our backsides!
So, that is what a Davis field trip looks like. Kind of fun don't you think? You should join us sometime!


Dana said...

We want to come! That's a trip right up our ally. Cool trailer!
Miss you guy's!

Copper's Wife said...

Oh, what a fabulous trip! There's nothing like the California coast in the fall! Fort Ross was one of our favorite CA history field trips, and we all still talk about it. Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing.

shane said...

Cool trip.

While I was in Russia I learned why the bottom board is slanted on a Russian Orthodox Cross. It is symbolic of the 2 thieves. It always slants so that the right side is up, symbolic of the thief who acknowledged who Christ was and joined Him in Heaven, while the left side slants down, symbolic of the theif who did not and ended up in hell. I always thought that was particularly interesting.

Shane (homeskoolmom's husband)

Daisy Fields Basket Co. said...

Shane, thanks for that comment. I really like that explanation rather then the ones that I read on the web. How symbolic. ~Heather