Even Paul Bunyan with his Blue Ox — in gigantic effigy, were not much of a distraction for us on our occasional drives north of Trinidad, up winding, wonderful "101." My family and I generally avoid most tourist traps. That all changed suddenly a couple of years ago when I discovered that the 'Monstrament' — a 14-foot "violin" — had mysteriously moved up the coast to the The Trees of Mystery, a tourist center and unofficially the gateway to the Redwood National Parks.
I drove north to investigate. My sculpture was discretely placed and I was pleased. However, I soon became a trapped tourist at this "tourist trap!" I was not alone. John Thompson, the owner of the center, informed me that as many as 400,000 tourists visit annually! Here's why: Beyond Paul Bunyan who guards the parking lot, there is a tastefully arranged gift shop representing skilled, local artisans; there's a neat coffee shop, a sky-ride into the redwoods and the best rest rooms west of wherever. There's more:
Adjacent to the center, eager travelers from most states and many nations have free access to a first-rate Native American museum. Enjoy this little museum while you may because this and others may be forced to remand treasured artifacts to the represented tribes, though they have absolutely no connection to the desecration of graves ("They Can't Breathe," May 20). Obviously, if burial relics are there, they belong with the tribes. However, other treasures at the center are open to the tribes. And — as with all great art, the redwoods and the rivers — they belong to all of us.
John Wiebe, Trinidad