A weekend ago we headed north of San Francisco through wine country to Monte Rio on the Russian River. This is real redwood land. There's a lazy river you glimpse through the most amazing trees. We were staying in a B&B of large cabins overlooking the river - we didn't see this until the morning. Then we found ourselves in a really quaint town. I know. I get to use the word "quaint" about somewhere in America. Ha! But what would you call this?
Anyway, we were there for a wedding which we were really happy to be invited to because it's not like we've known anyone here very long. But first, Tom took the girls to mess about in boats on the river, and managed to trip and fall in, thus killing his smartphone. He had the good grace to look suitably sad about this - Tom's innate hatred of buying stuff overcoming his desire for the newer flasher model of the Droid.
The wedding was beautiful. In a village hall amongst the trees. Very relaxed with a friend conducting the service (that's legal here!) and a very hip looking crowd. We do know some very cool people here. Not entirely sure what they are doing hanging around with us. Of course, we are automatically given a bit of an edge because we're foreign but at this wedding that didn't count as half the guests seemed to be British as was the groom. The music was great too and reminded me of my dad and his best friend jamming on their guitars - the band called themselves the Hot Club de Camp Meeker so I requested "Sweet Georgia Brown" for old times sake.
The next day we headed past Guerneville to the Armstrong Redwoods State Park. This is a stunning grove of coastal redwoods and according to Tom is much quieter than Muir Woods which is the famous Park just north of San Francisco. These were my first "tallest trees in the world" and they are incredible. Go on for ever. You can't really capture how glorious walking amongst this cathedral of tall trunks is with photographs. But you are hushed by the sheer glory of them as you are in Ely or Canterbury or Durham.
After wandering a bit on the flat and having a picnic lunch, we decided to take a slightly more challenging trail in a loop back to the car. It said "steep trail" at the start but it wasn't much really, certainly any of our local Welsh mountains would put it to shame. So we found it quite funny when a couple of admittedly rather portly people just behind us took one look at the hill and vanished in the other direction. We met quite a few people coming the other way and they were all impressed by our girls. We didn't meet any other children on the walk. There were plenty in the woods, but maybe American children don't do hills. They should though because then they would also get to see this.