Road Trip – Walk in the Redwoods – May 2015

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Prairie Creek Walk

Monday May 11, 2015: I go for my early morning walk, but instead of going along the path that I know, I go the other direction through the campground to see other sites that might be good when we come again, and I find a trail along Prairie Creek through the jungle there.

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The trees are thick and the brush is dense along Prairie Creek

The trail comes out along Elk Meadows and I follow a hint of a dirt road along the meadow back to the campground. During this portion of our trip, this is the only time I see mist.  Even though the redwoods are usually wet and misty, this has been an unusually dry spring with no rain and no mist in the forest

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Elk Meadow

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Clifford drops me off

After breakfast, we drive out of the state park far enough to get cell service to check on emails and take care of any pressing needs for Carnicom Institute. Then back to the Newton-Drury Parkway where we again visit Big Tree. Clifford drops me off so I can walk back to camp, while he heads on back to return to his studies.

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Clifford returns to his studies

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The path through the forest

I am at first a bit uncomfortable walking alone in this forest because of the reports of mountain lion sightings in this area. However, as I go along, I become more comfortable with being here by myself, enjoying the deep silence, and admiring the trees.

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On my own

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Redwood

As I walk, I see the most humongous “family” redwood, as I call those trees whose main trunk splits into two or more trunks as it continues its climb to reach the sky. This particular tree is like a family with grandma, the kids, the grandkids and even great-grandkids, as there were so many trunks coming from the one base. I wish Clifford was here to take a photo of me beside this great redwood family. How tiny I would have seemed next to it.

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A “selfie” of me and a medium-size redwood

Once I reach the campground, I take the familiar trail through the redwood forest back toward our campsite, stopping to take selfies of myself with my favorite trees. Wish I had thought to do this with the big family back up the trail, but I have not been one to take selfies at all. I’m just doing it now to have photos of them in right perspective. I mean, these are not just big trees, they are BIG trees!

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Redwood forest

While here with the trees, I have become aware of my habitual tendency to walk slightly hunched forward, with eyes on the ground for sure footing. Being among these tall trees and looking up has encouraged me to stand and walk more upright.

Back at camp, I make one last campfire and after dinner pack up the kitchen stuff, as we will be leaving tomorrow morning. I will be sorry to leave this place with the creek at my front door (which is our only door) and being surrounded by trees and birdsong.

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In honor of the redwoods I will walk straight and tall
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Road Trip – Newton-Drury Parkway – May 2015

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Camping at Prairie Creek

Sunday May 10, 2015: It is overcast this morning. I take a few photos before building a little campfire to keep me company while I write in the journal.  Here it is May and a campfire and a wool poncho are welcome parts of my life.  I love this weather.

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Big Leaf Maples are huge and covered with golden-green moss that looks like fur.

By time I am done writing, it is too sunny for good photos in the forests what with bright splashes of light and deep shadows. But I go for a walk, anyway, just because the forest is so wonderful.

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Light and shadows in the forest

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Trees along the Newton-Drury Parkway in Prairie Creek State Park

Back at camp, I download photos and edit until my laptop battery is dead. Then Clifford and I decide to go for a drive up the Newton-Drury Parkway, which is a road right through the heart of the redwood forest in the Prairie Creek State Park.

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Driving the Newton-Drury Roadway

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Shamrocks and ferns, as well as moss, grow out the decaying wood of dying and dead trees

In addition to driving the 10 mile length of the road, admiring the great trees as we go, we stop and follow paths to a couple of the most outstanding trees in the area.

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Clifford and Carol in the Prairie Creek Redwood forest

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Tree-peeker

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The Corkscrew Tree

The Corkscrew Tree is a redwood famous for the unusual entwining growth of its four trunks. It looks quite different depending on the angle at which one approaches, but it is no doubt unique, no matter where one is standing.

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Corkscrew Tree – a very twisted Redwood

 

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Clifford looking up at Big Tree

The other famous redwood in this forest, Big Tree, is a single trunk 20 feet in diameter with a 68-foot circumference. This wonderful giant is about 1,500 years old.

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Clifford and Carol at Big Tree

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Big Leaf Maple leans precariously as Clifford looks upward at other tall trees

The big leaf maples are also amazing… so very tall with great branches reaching out, covered with moss like golden-green fur.

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Moss-covered Big Leaf Maple

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Leaning Big Leaf Maple

I am in such awe of these giants of the earth and reluctant to leave them, but on back to camp we go. I continue reading “Legacy of Luna” by Julia Hill, admiring her great courage and stamina to stand up to adversity of all sorts while living for two years in an old-growth redwood near Eureka, done to bring awareness to environmental issues and logging practices.

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A redwood like Luna, but smaller. Could I live in her branches for two years?

As I walk in the forests in the evening, I look up at the old-growth redwoods around camp and consider what it would be like to live in the upper stories of one of these giants, never setting foot on the ground for over two years.

I am so in love with trees, tall trees, short trees, straight trees, leaning trees, crooked trees, furry trees.  I’ll dream of trees tonight.

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“Furry” trees
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