Our Winter Trip was nearing the end. This second to the last day, we were driving from Eureka, California to Sacramento, California. We knew we would see some mighty redwoods along the way as we started out on Highway 101. We even drove part of the alternate route labeled Avenue of the Giants, traveling along Eel River and through towering redwoods.
Avenue of the Giants is a 32-mile portion of Old Highway 101 that is surrounded by the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Humboldt RSP was created in 1921 through the efforts of the Save the Redwoods League that even back then valued the large trees much more alive than dead. Over the years, through purchase and donation, this state park has grown to nearly 53,000 acres. Roughly a third of the park (17,000 acres) is old growth redwoods, making it the largest expanse of ancient redwoods in existence.
We did catch glimpses of the Eel River along the road.
CHANDELIER DRIVE-THRU TREE, LEGGETT, CALIFORNIA
As we continued our drive along Highway 101, heading to Highway 20 where we would head east to Sacramento, we noticed an intriguing sign: Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree. We just had to explore! This privately owned location in Leggett, California, became the eighth stop on our Winter Trip.
The Underwood Family has privately owned the land since 1922. In 1937, after the tunnel was cut through the Chandelier Tree, the family opened the tree and its surroundings as a tourist attraction. For a small fee, tourists can enter the property and enjoy the trees.
After a short drive, one comes to the drive-thru tree. Throughout the property, there are also places to hike and picnic as well as shop in a little store.
I loved this poem!
But we were also thrilled to notice a fun surprise hiding throughout the redwoods: wooden carvings. These sculptures—carved with a chainsaw out of redwood—were interspersed throughout the trees, catching tourists by surprise. There were bears and eagles and deer and squirrels and turtles, and more. Two artists are responsible for these carvings, and they apparently return periodically to add more art. The two artists are Dayton Scoggins (Artistry in Wood) and Mark Colp (Wooden Creations).
This eagle sculpture is my favorite.
If you have never visited this little tourist attraction, add it to your list of places to see. It is delightful!
The Goodbye Committee
Not far past this little drive-thru diversion, we picked up Highway 20 en route to our hotel in Sacramento. As we drove, the temperature dropped, and we even experienced some snow.
Once we drove out of the snow, we saw a rainbow.
Once in the hotel, we heard the news that Highway 20 closed because of the snow that—apparently—kept falling behind us. The next day, we made it home to Bakersfield, ending a great Winter Trip.