The next day the family waffled up and headed to Davidson and the Redwood Forest. Enormous, ancient trees, wide enough that both boys could tuck into a cleft. One giant was labeled with a hand drawn sign that read: “BIG TREE. HEIGHT 304’ DIAMETER 21 ½ AGE approx. 1500 years.”
Fern valleys, fat yellow banana slugs on bright green leaves. Ross and Kent were giddy, reverting to small children, running, laughing, free to caper and play in the lush prehistoric setting. Their parents strolling behind, in their wake. At one point they draped their arms around each other.
“I like this hike,” said Kent. “It’s very beautiful.”
At one point I got ahead of Edie, tracking the boys. I turned around to check on her, and she was looking up, at the treetops, sunlight in her face, golden hair streaming over her shoulders. I snapped a photo: she looks like a child herself, aglow in wonder.
Since we could only get one night, the next day we moved from the Requa Inn to the Redwood Youth Hostel, a homey, 100-year-old institution overlooking the Pacific which, true to its communitarian roots had a guitar perched at the ready in a corner of the living room, a wicker basket holding tambourines and bongos, in case guests wanted to burst into song. The cabinets were emblazoned with what pots and utensils went where — everything in its place is the definition of utopia, for some people — and a call to action posted on the wall of the kitchen, an open letter from management, warning that the State of California is in the midst of a massive budget crisis and is debating whether to "close the majority of state parks, including the gorgeous Redwood State Parks."
All those who love nature were urged to the ramparts in their defense.