Flying the Edge of America:
Oakland to Crescent City, California
Lift off Oakland
Monday, June 30, 2008 Julia and David (J&D) took off
from Oakland that morning at 10:00 a.m. headed for
Crescent City and the Redwood National Park in the far
northern part of California. It was to be the first leg
of their flight around America and their first camping
on the trip. The entire west coast was socked-in.
Oakland had cloud down to 1,000 feet with the tops at
2,000 feet. The clouds at Crescent City had tops at
2,000 and went all the way down to 500 feet.
The landing at Crescent City required a lot of
concentration on instruments as nothing could be seen
until under the cloud layer. It also required much
bravery from Julia as she was not used to this type of
landing in complete white-out. The instrument landing
was stressful, but they made it safely to their first
destination of this amazing trip.
San Francisco under clouds
They had everything they needed, except for an extra
set of knives and forks, so they did well considering
how many things they could have left behind. They then
set out on a wonderful hike through the redwood forest,
which surrounds the campground in Jedediah Smith Redwood
State Park. After the hike they return to camp, made an
excellent dinner, drank some great wine, made a camp
fire, and turned in as the sun set.
It is difficult to describe the absolute beauty of a
redwood grove. It feels like being in a cathedral or an
Egyptian temple. At the same time it is possible to
imagine a pre-historic scene of dinosaurs wandering
through the ferns and trees. Julia had a reassuring
sense from standing in their midst that some-things just
stay the same. The forest can stay the same for
thousands of years and still survive despite our best
efforts to destroy it. It is a peaceful and
Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park
The park also provides a home to lots of birds and
animals. Not just small friendly ones either. There are
black bears in the area. But as they hiked in the forest
they did not worry about a bear attack. The place was
too beautiful to think of any danger being possible.
Apparently, Jedediah was attacked by a bear on his
expedition into the Northwest. It ripped the scalp from
his head, the skin only just attached at the ear. It's
hard to imagine his horror having it sewn back on by a
fellow trapper with no anesthetic in the woods. Poor guy
was tough enough to survive the bear attack, only to be
killed by Native Americans later in his career.
Jedediah was motivated to explore by reading about
the Lewis and Clark expedition and J&D started to feel
the same way; how could it have been possible to explore
completely unknown wilderness. J&D were in such ecstasy
that they hiked for 15 miles on the soft ground through
the magic forest, among irises, birds, ferns, and trees.
Julia completely forgot that the next day would be
another foggy flight and got lost in the moment.
Continue the adventure, in my next article of, Flying
the Edge of America.