Big Trees, Spotted Slugs, and Big Scat

It was a big pile of poop. Fresh. And there is only one animal in the redwood forests of Northern California that could produce it; the black bear.

Of course black bears rarely bother humans, unless a mother with cubs is surprised by people suddenly appearing in her neighborhood. So naturally we immediately started loudly singing Jimmy Buffet songs, which surely must be an effective bear deterrent.

We were on the Durphy Creek Trail through the redwood forest in Richardson Grove State Park just a few miles south of Garberville, where we were camped at the Benbow KOA. Our trip was a hurriedly planned escape from the smokey air produced by multiple enormous wildfires that were generated by an intense lightning storm and then amplified by a hotter and drier California courtesy of global climate change.

The first road from San Francisco to Eureka, the Redwood Highway, was completed in 1922 and ever since the tourists have kept coming to marvel at the tallest trees in the world; Sequoia sempervirens, the coast redwood. It only exists along the coast of northern California and southern Oregon and to me it is a wonderful privilege that some old growth forest area have been preserved and are accessible to everyone.

Richardson Grove State Park is relatively small and there are no all-day hiking trail routes available, but you can do a beautiful 6 mile / 1300 ft gain hike starting at the Madrone Campground and taking the Durphy Creek Trail to the Tan Oak Springs Trail, then the Lookout Point Trail back to the campground. Park at the Visitor Center and take the trail under the road to the campground where the Durphy Creek Trail begins. There is a trail map here (scroll down the PDF file to see it).

At the junction of the Tan Oak Springs and Lookout Point trails there is another unnamed trail heading off to the south, marked by a sign stating it goes outside the park boundary. Take it and in 10 minutes you will come to an enormous redwood that will take your breath away (you then have to turn around to get back into the park).

Next: the incredible redwoods of Humboldt

One thought on “Big Trees, Spotted Slugs, and Big Scat

  1. Pingback: The Incredible Redwoods of Humboldt | Electric Travels

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