Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Prairie Creek in July

I drove up to Prairie Creek State Park on Sunday to look around a little more. The park was as crowded as I have ever seen it, the parkway itself seemed especially busy. Cars and RV's were lined up along the meadow near the visitor center. Nevertheless, I didn't see anyone during my morning hike. It was warm enough to walk around in short sleeves.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer in the Redwoods

Another old car decaying in the woods

Summer is in full swing in the redwoods. It's been mostly foggy and cloudy most mornings along the coast since July started. Clouds may or may not burn off by mid day. When I drive south for work, the marine layer dissipates right when I reach Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I don't know what that means for the trees exactly. Are they getting enough summer time moisture?

I noticed last night the mosquitoes were not as bad. Maybe we've passed the peak season for them. They seemed to be swarming just a week ago. The Eel River is looking pretty low right now too.

I just happened to read an article this morning called "Big Trees" in the July 17, 2014 edition of the North Coast Journal. Part of the article interviews Steve Sillett, professor and Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Ecology at Humboldt State University. The article states:

Sillett  made a potentially unpopular statement when the talk turned to bolstering the old forests to withstand climate change. There's talk, he said, of what happens if there's less fog in the future. But actually, he said, there's been a decline in cloud cover for years, and redwoods are thriving.

"With a decline in cloud cover there's a spike in wood production," he said. "Redwoods in Humboldt show wood production that is 40 percent higher now than it's been in the last several hundred years. The most pronounced is in Redwood National Park. ...Why? More light availability. So is that climate change?"

Climate change, in this case anyway, is not a simple "bad" thing, he said. "There's good and bad."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Coming out of Retirement

Well that didn't take long, lol. A few days later and I think I have a better perspective on a direction. Just to explain a little: There has been recent discussion among tree enthusiasts about photographs posted online of certain trees and the consequences of those of us who do this. A recent, exciting discovery in the redwood forest has sparked this discussion. There is a debate on whether or not particular "rockstar" trees and groves have been adversely affected as a result of too much visitation or publicity. Trees and groves that risk being "loved to death" if you will, by us. There is no doubt in my mind that certain charismatic trees have been affected in recent years, and there is plenty of evidence to see how vegetation around these trees is being trampled. Whether or not this weakens the overall health of the tree or not may still be up for debate, but we can probably assume that in no way will this have any benefit for the tree itself. If I take a close look at my own personal contribution to this problem by posting pictures of certain trees, then I have to take some responsibility.

As a result, I most likely will not be posting any more pictures of certain individual trees, or naming certain parks, groves, or trails when discoveries are made there. However, after going for a hike yesterday after work, I can't deny that I love trying to take pictures in the redwoods, despite my cheap camera. I enjoy posting those pictures and writing a few sentences about the forest that day. That I will continue to do.

Having said that, I encourage folks everywhere to get out and enjoy their redwood parks, or the trails and parks in whatever bio-region you happen to live in. Yesterday, I was amazed once again, that despite being in the height of the summer, I did not see anyone in the incredible redwood grove I was hiking in. It was the first time I had ever visited this particular spot, and that seems to be what fills me with the most joy: Entering a new grove for the first time. To be honest, the popular, charismatic individual trees and groves I have found usually feel anti-climatic and even disappointing. After all, it's true that it is all about the journey and not the destination. Seeing a new grove for the first time is what I enjoy the best. So, get out there on the trails folks. Having a rough day? Feeling down? Need to blow off a little steam? Head to the trails, they can be medicine...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tales From the Trails

I've been feeling very conflicted lately, and for the first time since starting this blog, the muse seems to be suggesting a period of silence. I have a ton of things to share and say but seem to be unable to chart a course forward. I may continue to post from time to time, and I may not, depending on the muse...