Monday, April 27, 2015

Redwood Journey

Spent yesterday slowly exploring a potion of forest I have never been before. I felt like the wealthiest man on the planet...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Founder's Grove

My work commute has allowed me to visit Humboldt Redwoods State Park on a regular basis for the last year and a half. For a long time, I tended to stay away from the Founder's Grove because it always seemed too crowded, and I wanted to see more of the less visited spots.  Over time, I have really begun to appreciate this grove, and do believe it is one of the best in the park. I'll be honest, some of the groves in HRSP can feel creepy for whatever reason. In fact, I was in one yesterday that I have visited several times, and every time I go in there I get a bad feeling. Founder's Grove has never felt that way to me at least. It always seems cheery, welcoming and inviting.

I have a friend in town who once lived in the canopy of a giant old redwood tree doing activism work for 6 months. The stories he tells of that time are fascinating. While living in the tree, he once told me, there were places in the actual tree he was living in that he didn't feel comfortable going, and places that he believed held a little more spiritual power. Perhaps like spots on the human body. Anyhow, sometimes I feel like the Founder's Grove is one of those spots in Humboldt Redwoods State Park that holds a little more power. It's well worth the visit...

Canopy Views

Avenue of the Giants
300ft + trees
South Fork of the Eel River

Looking down into the Woman's Federation Grove
I found this neat vantage spot in Humboldt Redwoods State Park for the first time this week. It's almost like being in the canopy, and offers fantastic views. Only problem is that the hillside/trail is tick infested at the moment. Especially this time of year, you can guarantee that if you walk in any kind of hillside grass, you pick up a few ticks along the way...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Redwood National Park

The forest calls
A lot has changed in a year. The first time I visited Prairie Creek last year I was so overwhelmed by the place, I couldn't wrap my head around it. I felt like an astronaut who had just landed on another planet. I picked a spot and began slowly familiarizing myself, and at a banana slug's pace, spreading outwards week after week. I planned on visiting once a month, but that quickly turned into once a week visits. The first time I visited Redwood National Park last summer, I was convinced there were places no man had ever been before, and couldn't fathom anyone ever going into some of those places. It looked too difficult, wild, and scary. Well, it may be true to an extent, but I think there ARE a few who have gone to these spots, and there are a few who are going to them now. After a year of rambling around, I am surprised how my own comfort level has drastically changed. I didn't realize it, but I think a certain skill set begins to develop over time, and those who head into the forest probably continue to learn something new after each visit.

Yesterday was a good, good day. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but it seemed to me that the adventure of a lifetime still awaits. Exploring the redwood forest is just as exhilarating as any thru hike I have ever done. It's a gift like no other...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Eel River

Here's a couple of photos of the Eel River taken this week in HRSP. Starting to feel a sense of closure creep in on this particular life chapter as Appalachian Trail prep continues. I know life offers no guarantees on anything, so I'm trying to soak in as much redwood time as possible while I'm still here. It's a great time of year to be outside...

Chandelier Tree

I payed a visit to the Chandelier Tree after work yesterday on an absolutely perfect, warm, cloudless afternoon. The tree is simply magnificent, and well worth the 5 dollars to enter the park. According to the website, the park has been owned and operated by the Underwood family since 1922. They have done a superb job taking care of the property, and the small redwood grove there. It felt really, really peaceful, and I enjoyed the human landscaping alongside the forest that still appeared in its natural state.

While photographing the tree, a woman I was standing next to was debating her friends. She was convinced that the Chandelier Tree was not a redwood. She kept saying that the tree did not look right. Well, it's definitely a redwood, and the tree sure has a unique look to it. Again, definitely worth paying a visit to see with your own eyes in my opinion.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Redwood Ramblin'

I spent a great day ramblin' around Prairie Creek yesterday. Was very fortunate to be able to "bear witness" to a few more majestic groves that I've never been in before and see some special trees up close. Some of the trees could have been in the top 50 as far as cubic volume is concerned, perhaps not. It doesn't really matter too much to me these days. Stepping foot onto new ground seems to give me the biggest thrill in the redwood forest. Just a spectacular park...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Backpacking Redwood National Park

Redwood Creek
 I went backpacking over Easter weekend with trail friend "Moosie." She hiked the PCT and CDT the same years I did and is one of the members of the infamous Sobo Hobos. She has also hiked half of the AT as well. This was her first trip to the redwoods. The plan was to collaborate on some sort of art project, to use our experience in the redwoods to express some sort of visual artwork. There was plenty to be inspired by.
Moss and maples
We found this old chimney tree back in the forest
Looking up the chimney
 Our first day hiking was memorable. Permits were easy to come by and Redwood Creek was swift but fordable. We had to attempt twice as our first spot was a little too deep. Weather was good, and there was plenty to look at. I was blown away how much area remains to be explored. It was very exciting. A highlight for me was noticing cedar trees for the first time. This makes me want to look around the Northwest a bit more.
Cedar tree (grayish green foliage)
 We found a good spot to camp and firewood was easy to come by, and dry! After a delicious dinner, Moosie and I were treated to a magical moon show. The full moon slowly rose above the canopy, casting soft moon beams over the forest and through the creek canyon. Definitely memorable.
My tarp Easter morning looking downstream
Moosie's tarp looking upstream
 Rains came later that night. I was happy to know my tarp still does well in the rain, as long as I am careful. I woke up early Easter morning and was treated with one of my favorite forest views as soon as I opened my eyes. The redwood canopy draped in fog and mist. I took a few photos and then fell back into a deep sleep. Later in the morning, I heard Moosie calling me to wake up. We had a lull in the rainy weather, it was a good time to have breakfast and break camp. The rain held off just long enough to eat an enjoyable Easter breakfast. It was coming down pretty hard just before we hit the trail. The rest of the morning was cold and wet, but Moosie and I were treated with a feast of green color in the forest. Our plan was to hike all the way to the Tall Trees grove and then hike back and find another spot to camp. By noon, Moosie and I were both pretty darn cold and wet. After discussing our situation, we both decided it would be a good idea to just turn around and call it a day. It would leave us an extra day to work on some art anyhow, which I think was a good motivator. The rest of the afternoon, we were treated to rain showers, and short breaks of sunbeams, crystallizing everything in view. Pretty spectacular.

Moosie fording Redwood Creek
Just getting started...
Overall, it was another amazing trip for the memory bank. I can't wait for another chance to head back into this special place. I'm excitied to see what kind of art Moosie is able to create out of the experience as well...