My family lives only 350 miles from the PacificCoast, but my siblings and I couldn’t remember ever seeing the expanse of the ocean. Add to this the fact that all of us were longing to see the majestic redwood giants of nature, found in the RedwoodNational Park, and our summer plans were pretty much settled. We decided to visit the towering redwoods in California first, and then meander our way up the Oregon coast. Everyone was incredibly ecstatic as we crammed the last bit of luggage into our packed car and headed south.
As we traveled towards California, the trees outside our windows began growing…and growing…until they finally reached mammoth proportions. These were the world-renowned redwoods, and I knew that I would never forget the sensation of sitting in the car while my dad drove through one of these giants. Our favorite stop in the RedwoodForest was at the Trees of Mystery, the ‘premier Nature Attraction on California’s NorthCoast’ (www.treesofmystery.net). After being greeted at the entrance by massive statues of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox, we headed towards the spectacular gondola ride designed to showcase the magnificence of the beautiful redwoods. After thoroughly enjoying this gorgeous national park, we eventually managed to tear ourselves away and proceed directly to the coast.
Soon we were rewarded by our much-anticipated arrival at the ocean…the glittering blue sheet dotted with whitecaps appeared to stretch into eternity. It was the Pacific Ocean….and its size was mind-boggling. I stood staring, but still couldn’t take it all in. Then I waded into the enormous blue gem, delighting in how the surges of the waves enticed and mesmerized me. I had fallen completely in love with the ocean. As I gazed out across the huge expanse of glitter, I realized that I could see the curve of the earth. Amazing! I wasn’t in space, and I was staring at the curve of planet Earth. I knew that this view would stay with me for the rest of my life. We leisurely drove north on Highway 101, which usually kept us within view of the beautiful blue ocean.
After a week of meandering along the Oregon coast, we arrived at what was to be my favorite lodging of the trip−Gearhart by the Sea resort (www.gearhartresort.com). Located in the picturesque town of Astoria, Gearhart is the epitome of vacation luxury, boasting beautifully furnished condominiums just a few steps from the beach. Adventurous individuals will enjoy conquering nearby sand dunes and are well rewarded with views of beautiful rock formations surrounded with and submersed in vividly colored water−yet another stunning sight to tuck into my memory banks. My siblings and I went swimming every day, plunging into the salt water and heading out to where the waves playfully pushed and pulled at us, then propelled us laughing toward shore on our body boards. I never wanted to leave this paradise, but the day of departure was fast approaching, and soon it was time to pack. We drove away with bags of saltwater taffy and grains of sand sprinkled everywhere, regretting that we couldn’t stay longer. The RedwoodForest and the Pacific Ocean were beautiful, majestic, and awe-inspiring, and I am extremely thankful that I experienced the wonder embodied in them. I will treasure this enriching travel experience forever.
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