Now for those of you who are perceptive you may have noticed the adjective "decked" in front of mini-van in the previous paragraph. How do you deck out, supe up, or just generally try to make a van look cool you ask? Well to start with, you take a middle-aged guy who loves Hot Wheels cars and wanted to be a race car driver in Gr. 1. Add to that a frugal mind and limited resources. Then mix in 4 enthusiastic kids and a wife who knows that her husband really wanted to "let loose" in a Mennonite/pastor/conservative sort of way. And what do you have?
A $20 set of blue flame decals that are now one the "Dueck 6 Mobile!"
California has truly been cool, and for the most part rainy. We had two rainy days in a great motel (great means a suite with two separate sleeping areas, 3 queen size beds, and two TV's for only $75!) in Crescent City, then headed for three nights of camping at Prairie Creek State Park in the Redwood National Forest. On our two sunny afternoons we went on some amazing hikes, and were surrounded by some truly awe-inspiring trees. The pictures really don't do them justice, but here is the best we can do to give you a taste of these truly massive creations of God.
Height: Some of the these Coastal Redwoods grow to be over 350 ft tall. That's as tall as a 30 story building (meaning they are as tall as the Revolving Restaurant in Winnipeg). Standing under one makes you feel like a tiny ant. Some of these old growth trees may be 2000 years old, with most of the larger trees being at least 500 years old.
We had three days of hiking and camping among these great trees. Unfortunately it rained the last couple of days we were there, which didn't really dampen our spirits, but it did make us really damp! The kids were great about it, and enjoyed the chance to eat a few meals in the van. While at the campground we had the opportunity to meet a cyclist from England and share a meal with him. We enjoyed the adult conversation, and he welcomed the chance to talk with us and our kids.
One of things about travelling to different areas is that you see things that you didn't even know existed. I had heard about and seen pictures of Redwoods, but one place I had never dreamed about was Fern Canyon. After a 30 minute ride down a wet gravel road, a 10 minute walk on a trail, we all entered into what seemed like another world. We saw first hand what looked great on postcards, and what was also a part of the Lost World, Jurassic Park Movie. Here is a picture of what we saw, but again, it does nothing to convey the beauty and serenity of the place.
The walls of this canyon are covered with the delicate 5 fingered fern. With the creek, the massive uprooted Redwoods, the 30 foot high walls of green, this was one of those places that truly surpassed all that people said about it.
How many years was this small canyon here before anybody discovered it? One small creek flowing into the vast Pacific Ocean carved this beautiful canyon. God, in his creative goodness and power saw fit to decorate this canyon with ferns to bring glory to himself, and joy to those people fortunate enough to visit it.
Redwoods and Rain Forests. Truly, "the whole earth is full of His glory." Isaiah 6:3