Friday, January 30, 2015

This Week in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Earth Star
Redwoods can take on many different looks. Some trees may not have any branches until 150 feet up the stem of the trunk. This green, shaggy redwood has branches all the way to the ground.
A redwood recently fell and slammed into this guy on the way down. This tree is now leaning and seriously cracked. It has a healthy, bushy crown, but I wonder if it will collapse soon under it's own weight. 

Just south of Leggett on highway 101, is a giant (I assume a redwood) tree that dominates the mountain side. If you are ever driving south towards Laytonville, the tree will perfectly frame itself in your rear view mirror. Heading north, you will the trees canopy like a mushroom cloud over the mountain. I added a red arrow to the photo, as it doesn't do justice.
Lilies are popping out already
Large bay laurel. 

Redwood grove and mountains
High pressure seems to be keeping the rain at bay this month. Other than one weekend storm that I can think of, it's been pretty warm and dry around here this month. There was an earthquake near Ferndale earlier this week that rattled the house pretty good. The redwood forest continues to do its thing. Sometimes, it really seems fragile, despite it's majesty...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Prairie Creek

Awesome western hemlock root
Another fascinating limb
Ancient hillside giant covered in fire scars

Cold, clear water
Cliffs near Moonstone Beach
Went for a nice long hike in Prairie Creek yesterday. It's been unbelievably warm around here the last week or so. The temperature difference was noticeable in the park. Cool and damp near the bottom flats and warm and dry up in the hills. Could have easily hiked in a T-shirt yesterday along the Rhododendron Trail.  Lighting in the park was a little different yesterday...

Friday, January 23, 2015

This Week in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Mattole Road, Avenue of the Giants, Highway 101 intersection.

Unique bark pattern
Ferns and redwoods
Confusion Hill?
Higher elevation redwood trail

Another week has come and gone. Roughly 5 more months until the Appalachian Trail. I'm trying to take advantage as much as I can this once in a lifetime opportunity to spend time in Humboldt Redwoods State Park before and after work. This week I visited a few spots I've been before, and also hiked a higher elevation trail that I had not done yet. Once again, I want to emphasize how nice some of these higher elevation trails are. Yes, the redwoods are smaller, but the mixed forest is beautiful, brighter, and smells different. There also always seems to be these secret little redwood groves on a random flats or near hillside streams as well...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Prairie Creek

Redwood Creek: Looking towards lady Bird Johnson Grove
Layers of canopy
A big redwood tree snapped into two very recently near the Visitor Center, leaving a gaping hole in the canopy.
Redwood fusions in foreground and background
Fascinating limb and reiterations
Burl and fern garden
The first time I visited Prairie Creek in 2011, I got a little lost and found this gigantic fusion. This past year, every now and then, I would wonder where these trees were. They grow on a "Forgotten Flat."
I had a great visit to Prairie Creek yesterday. I have to say, I love the first 15 to 30 minutes after I get out of my car and enter the forest. It's always a complete assault on the senses, a euphoric time. The forest was very misty today, and dripping with water from the weekend's latest storm...

Friday, January 16, 2015

This Week in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

The Eel River was taking on it's turquoise color once again since the rains have subsided since late December. Another storm arrived today which will probably change the color back to brown.
Sometimes the forest reveals random artifacts from who knows when and for what purpose. This almost seemed like a little memorial spot.
The Scream
For some reason, this tree, and this tree only, is completely covered in bearded lichen. 

Straight and true.
Old Grandfather Tree: Sometimes it's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that some of these trees have been growing here for 1000 to 2000 years, especially now that there is so little old growth left. Here I am, visiting these same trees like an invasive species, walking through this tiny plot that still appears practically untouched, yet there are signs of modern man everywhere around.
I'm really enjoying my new camera, as the pictures look so much more clear than my last one. This week I craved a little more time in the forest before work. I really love this place...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter Reprieve

Couldn't ask for nicer winter days along the North Coast
Big Stump: HRSP
Large redwood with poison oak vines 
Space shuttle redwood
Calm, sunny days (for the last week and a half) have been a nice contrast to the relentless late autumn rains. I bought a new digital camera last week for my upcoming Appalachian Trail hike. It's a Nikon Coolpix 20.1 megapixel point and shoot. I like the way pictures are turning out, a step up from my last camera.

Last night on the way home from work, I decided to stop by the Avenue of the Giants for a moment before the full moon came up. I have forgotten just how dark the forest gets at night. When I turned off my car and shut off the lights, a small wave of anxiety entered my being when I stepped away from my vehicle. It was pitch black. I could easily imagine getting disoriented just a few feet away from one's vehicle, and being unable to find it. It was that dark! I believe the rains are returning on Friday...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Last hike of 2014. Cold sunny day in Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Dec 31, 2014).
Happy New Year to all! 2014 has come and gone. Personally, it was an absolutely memorable year in the redwood forest, and I feel very fortunate and blessed to really get to know such an amazing spot on this earth. Here's to another year filled with adventures, exploration, and hopefully new discoveries for all of you...