As we drove down the winding road with trees so large they inspired Robert to fall into his Ent impression, I could tell the boys were not yet fully on board with our excursion into Redwood National Park.
"You know," I said, "this is where George Lucas filmed the Endor scenes from Return of the Jedi. Doesn't it look familiar? Can't you just see the speeder bikes weaving in and out of the trees?"
And what do you know? They could! Suddenly they were interested in this stunning, almost otherworldly scene in Northern California. I explained that the Redwood National Park was thousands of acres in size and that the movie scenes weren't necessarily filmed exactly where we were. But I told them it was probably some place just like this!
Evidently I was inspired to make that Star Wars connection because, as it turns out, according to the park ranger, the speeder bike scenes from Return of the Jedi that did not have explosions were filmed in Stout Grove, the exact spot we visited.
The size of these trees was overwhelming. Even the stumps were breath taking. Jonah was trying to use his DSi to take a picture of the stump himself, so was not super cooperative for my picture. We had to stop in the middle of the road as we drove into the grove and cars were backing up behind us. Otherwise I would have made him smile.
I took way too many pictures like the one above, even though they all ended up looking the same. I couldn't get over the size and the beauty.
Here, Robert declares his affection for the Ent, I mean tree--the biggest one he'd ever seen.
Jonah and Isaac were excited to work on their Junior Ranger booklets in order to receive their Junior Ranger badges. I suggested several times they get their noses out of the booklets and focus on the beauty around them, but they were determined to earn their badges. Later, back at the Ranger Station, they took the oath (no kidding) and became official Junior Rangers.
The Stout Grove loop took approximately 45 minutes to complete. That included stopping at every single tree to take a picture. Or ten. Even the fallen trees were inspiring. Without all the photography it probably would have taken ten minutes or less.
Here's a fallen tree whose root system was massive. Jonah climbed up to the center for a picture. Many of these trees were 1000 to 3000 years old. This was surely one of the oldies.
What can I say?
Did I mention I took a lot of pictures?
On our way down the coast to our Hotel we stopped at this lookout spot where the Klamath River runs into the Pacific. It was windy and cool. About 60 degrees. I couldn't wait to get back into the warm car.
Here are my cute boys, thrilled after an afternoon on Endor.