Yesterday I hiked what has been described as the greatest redwoods hike in the world. Today included what has been described as the most scenic stand of redwoods in the world (though I am still partial to my first – Muir Woods).
12 miles of hiking yesterday and my foot felt better than the day before! Maybe the spiritualty found in the trees is working miracles! In bed at 9 last night, out of bed at 9 this morning! I slept well once again in my cozy Hilleberg tent. It was a bit warmer, maybe 45 for a low, so I opened up my sleeping bag and used it more like a quilt. As long as I am talking gear, the bag I use when it is above 25 or so is a Nemo Nocturne 30. I like it as it has a lot more room than a mummy bag, yet is still very light and packs down small. My REI AirRail pad is treating me as well as any I have had. Not quite a Marriott bed, but pretty darn good for a backpacking pad.
Anyway, after 18 miles in two days, I decided to give my foot a break and head south to Humboldt State Park and drive the Avenue of Giants and other low impact activities. My rental car had other plans, and after a brief stop at Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, it took me back to Howland Hill Road, where I hiked a good chunk of the Mill Creek Trail. This is a great trail along a creek – something I like as one of my favorite sounds is the sound of moving water.
It then took me up the road a bit to Stout Grove, with RedwoodHikes describes as the most scenic redwood grove in the world. Hard to argue that, it was incredible. Like I said above, Muir Woods still has a strong place in my heart – if the redwood groves are my church than Muir Woods is my Vatican. But like the Vatican, Muir Woods has lots of tourists and in Stout Grove I saw 6 people. I think I mentioned in one of my Zion posts that less people helps me form a stronger nature connection. I loved Stout Grove. So much so that I went back again after dinner.
After Stout Grove, I visited the Simpson Reed and Peterson Memorial trails. The Simpson-Reed is a loop and the Peterson is an offshoot of that. A nice easy hike with more great trees.
I also accidently found the somewhat secret grove of giant trees, I won’t go into more detail as I respect the reason the location is secret – to protect the trees. I knew they were in the area, but I did not expect to find them when I wandered up a side trail. Note that as you see these pics of one of this giant that I am a few feet away from it so that I would have less of an impact – the point being that due to perspective the tree does not quite look as big as it really is.
I am thinking about going back tomorrow – as it was not until later that I confirmed what I had found – and what was so close that I did not see, or at least did not appreciate if I did see. Or, I may let them be without one more visit. A few feet away was some level of precaution, but the less feet that go near them the better. Or as Wallace Stegner once wrote, “Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” I looked in (or a little more), I think I will let them be. There are enough other giants to see.