Saturday, November 29, 2014

Prairie Creek and Black Friday

Evan and a big tree

Evan and a wall of wood
Evan spotted this "widow maker" in the forest. Basically a large branch that fell off the tree a long time ago and embedded itself into the earth. Notice the huckleberry bush and other plants growing out of the top of the log!

Evan and I did a little bushwhacking and found this giant hiding in the forest.
My friend Evan and I did a hike in Prairie Creek yesterday. Seemed like the forest was a more ideal choice to spend Black Friday than rolling around on the floors of Wal-Mart wrestling for TV's and Barbie dolls. Good conversation, hiking on and off trail, firing up the tree measuring laser, a variety of weather conditions, all made for another memorable day in this grand redwood forest of ours...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Williams Grove Trail: Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Lots of rain last few days. Here, Bull Creek enters the muddy, swift south fork of the Eel River. Across the Eel you can see redwood trunks with high water stains on them, probably from the 64' flood?
A neat array of coral fungi
Williams Grove Trail

I drove down to Humboldt Redwood State Park yesterday and hiked along the Williams Grove Trail from Williams Grove to Hidden Springs campground and then walked back to my car via the Avenue of the Giants. It was probably 5 miles round trip with a couple of cool surprises. It's a quiet little trail through some old growth, as well as second growth forest and travels onto some drier hillsides.

Before that, I tried one more time to spot salmon spawning activity but came up empty handed. Perhaps it's not to be this year. The Eel was running swift and muddy due to a couple days of significant rain this weekend. Bull creek was also running high and fast. Lots of mushrooms are still on display right now...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ossagon Trail: Prairie Creek State Park

It would be so cool to be able to go back in time and talk to someone in the Yurok tribe about their experience living among the redwoods.

I did a hike this afternoon on the Ossagon Trail in Prairie Creek this afternoon. Before that, I went on a bushwhack up a random hillside for a couple of hours. There are always random, awesome ancient giants hidden back in the forest, but you've really got to earn their presence.

The Ossagon Trail is a hike where the reward once again is the ocean. Also once again, there was nobody out there.  I was just happy to be on the trail, the one place I feel "normal" and at ease. The forest was quite chilly today and the warm sun on the beach felt amazing, especially since my clothes were pretty wet from the earlier bushwhack. Had a lot of trail flashbacks today...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Salmon/Keystone xl Pipeline

I wasn't going to bother with this post, but the timing is uncanny so here it is:

Yesterday before work I stopped by the South Fork of the Eel River in HRSP to look for any visible signs of salmon heading upstream, or spawning activity. The river was quiet and I did not see any fish. While staring into the river, I noticed a nice brand new Mercedes coming down the path and then eventually out onto the riverbank. I got a kick out of that. I nice dressed man stepped out, and also spent some time looking into the river and taking a few photos. It was just about time to head to work so I quietly began walking back to my car. The man saw me and called out "Hey, I didn't see you down here!" I walked over to him and we introduced ourselves. I mentioned to the man that I was looking for salmon but still couldn't see any. It seemed a couple years ago, there was a lot of salmon activity in the Eel around this time of year. The man sighed and said, "Maybe it's time Republicans start to listen, and I'm one of them!"

The man did not indicate who Republicans should listen to, but the thought did occur to me how beneficial it would be for anyone, regardless of their political suasion, to take some time to at least listen to what the forests, rivers, and the land seem to be saying. I had admiration for this man who seemed to be taking time to connect with his forest. Anyhow, it appears the Republican House has wasted no time approving the Keystone Pipeline today. I wonder what the land is saying?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Berry Glen Trail: Redwood National Park

Sunset over Prairie Creek
Morning fog and mist: Prairie Creek
Moon setting over Prairie Creek
Roosevelt Elk eating breakfast

I spent Saturday night in the Prairie Creek campground for the first time in 2 or three years. Last time I camped here was the first time I had ever visited the park, and I remember being completely overwhelmed. It's funny, now the groves are beginning to resemble familiar rooms of a giant house. My plan was to wake up early as possible to experience a Prairie Creek morning. It turned out to be a perfect experience, one that can only be described as "enchanting."

The weather remained that way the whole time I was in the park. After wandering around a bit in the morning, I decided to hike the Berry Glen Trail, one I have not done before. It basically begins in the Elk Meadow Parking lot and heads all the way up to Lady Bird Johnson Grove. It was uphill the entire way, but not overly strenuous. I love seeing the higher elevation redwoods. Most of the hike was shrouded in fog which enhanced the experience. Again, just like every other trail in the park, there are some awesome trees to see...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mushrooms in the Redwoods

Mushrooms are on full display in the forest right now. It still amazes me how they can be virtually invisible until you make a conscious effort to look for them. Then, it's as if they magically appear, and can be seen growing all over the forest floor. No sign of salmon in Bull Creek, although I only had a few minutes to look as I keep getting sucked into the forest. The water levels may still be too shallow for all I know. I'm hopeful, next week, or the week after will reveal my first salmon sighting of the year, as this is the time I saw them a couple years ago. Rain continues to fall off and on around these parts...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Skunk Cabbage Trail

Not a single soul on the beach.

Old redwood boneyard.
Mushroom Madness!
 I took a nice long hike along the Skunk Cabbage Trail to the Coastal Trail in Redwood National Park yesterday. Highlights for me were the big sitka spruce and old growth redwood trees in the beginning of the hike and then the desolate beach. It's kind of a unique feeling to stand out on a beach and not see anyone north or south as far as the eye can see. As posted above, I took some portraits of some colorful rocks on the sand. Basically enjoyed the silence and solitude of the day. It's a good time of year to look at mushrooms too...