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Daniela Miller

Weed, Wine and Giant Redwoods

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Edited by Daniela Miller, Wednesday, 21 June 2023, 23:45

Day 8, Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Well, it’s been quite a journey to get here. First travelling to Madrid, then a 12 hour flight to LA the following day and then a couple of days making our way up the west coast to Northern California with stopovers in Santa Barbara and Carmel Valley Village on the way.

All has been quiet on the hormonal front so far (inner spring is my favourite season) and the driving here is very easy and relaxed compared to Europe. People here cruise rather than race. Big thumbs up from me on that front.

What I hadn’t worried about or really taken into consideration (proving again how pointless worrying really is), was the jet lag. It’s been a real bitch and we’re only just getting over it.

However, when we finally arrived at the first “proper” destination of this trip (and one of the main reasons for coming here), and entered the Avenue of the Giants today, everything we went through to get here felt completely worth it.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling of driving and then walking amongst these giant trees but I can tell you that I burst into tears several times, feeling overwhelmed by awe and wonder. Majestic is one of the words that springs to mind to describe these trees and the experience of being amongst them was truly humbling. 

What was interesting and unexpected was the intense smell of weed that wafted through our car on occasion when driving through the area, and on the free area map, “Wine and Weed Tours” are advertised as one of the 101 things you can experience here. Because apart from wine, weed is also professionally grown here and not just legally but also illegally, which unfortunately brought a whole lot of problems to the area. We were reminded of this reality when we stopped for petrol and spotted a shop window covered in missing person posters. People have been disappearing here and it earned the area the nickname “Murder Mountain” (you can watch the documentary on Netflix). I purposely didn’t watch the documentary before coming here but probably will watch it now when we get home. 

Although we are mainly sticking to tourist places on our trip (and purposely so), it’s difficult to not become aware of the shadow sides of this country. In Santa Barbara for example, I was also moved to tears but not by awe and wonder but by the shocking contrast between the affluence on display and the amount of homeless people living on the streets and searching through bins for food.

Call me naive, but I really can’t get my head around why as a species we still haven’t learned to share and make sure there’s enough for everyone. 

Trees, on the other hand, are experts at sharing resources with each other. Possibly another reason to look up to them…

Woman (me) looking up at big Redwood trees

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