Tysen, Diane, Dick, Linda, Lynette, Mary E.
Hikers: Nancy “Mystic Forest” B., Terry T., Barb “Bashenka” S., Mary “Fireweed” K., Shanti “dog”
We drove over to the Redwood National Park Visitor Center at Hiouchi on Hwy 199 about 10 miles east of Crescent City on the morning of Wed the 20th –it took about 2-1/2 hrs. We watched the 12-minute park service video and learned several things about the redwoods, which we promptly forgot after being distracted by a 5 year-old with ADD sitting in front of us. We got a permit for camping at the Little Bald Hills backcountry camp and were on our way.
We parked a car at Sand Camp on the Smith River and shuttled back to the Little Bald Hills trailhead. It was foggy and overcast, but I was hopeful that when we hiked up the ridge we would get above the fog. This wasn’t to be. The fog enhanced the walking experience through the tall redwoods and Port Orford Cedars. We got into camp at 2 PM. The ghostly fog stayed all day. We built a fire when we got into camp after we set up our tents under the huge douglas fir trees and had hot drinks. Lots of good conversation.
We identified about 14 species of wildflowers on the first day of the hike. Many Douglas Iris, Western rhododendron and purple Brodiaea. The only fauna we spotted were a couple of banana slugs.
On Thursday we were on the trail by about 9:15 am and quickly emerged above the fog layer into sun, where we spent the rest of the hike. Dozens of spiderwebs in the meadow grass were laced with dew from the recent fog.
We identified about 20 more species of wildflowers, including the rare Bolander lily. We also passed a little seep with a large clump of darlingtonia (pitcher plants) and California ladyslipper.
The fauna spotting highlight of the trip was a very small bear cub who quickly clambered up to the top of a 50 foot pine tree next to the trail after spotting us. He/she was making all kinds of small growling and hissing noises. I got a video* of the tiny cub descending the tree when we made motions to leave, not wanting to encounter his mom. He disappeared into the brush up the hill. [*admin note: since our WordPress account won’t upload videos, still frame included in slideshow]
Another highlight of the descent to the Paradise Trailhead was walking through a gauntlet of fragrant azaleas and rhododendrons. There was a panoramic view of the Siskiyou wilderness as well.
We arrived at the Paradise Trailhead by the Smith River after 2 PM — about 6 miles of walking. Terry shuttled us back to the trailhead at Stout Grove but our adventure wasn’t over. As I was starting to drive away I noticed a plastic bag shrouded piece of paper pinned under one of my windshield wipers. A parking ticket!! We stopped by the Park Visitor center in Hiouchi and were able to practice the four things the redwoods taught us (which we finally remembered in entirety after Terry and Barb re-viewed the park video):
1. Tenacity: we waited to wade through the tourists crowding around in the information desk at the visitor center to appeal our ticket
2. Patience: while waiting for the park ranger to get in touch with someone in law enforcement
3. Resilience: we didn’t lose our cool at this obvious miscarriage of justice
4. Respect: we thanked the ranger after he assured us the ticket was cancelled
Terry and Barb returned to Ashland and a solstice party and Nancy and Mary travelled on to Brookings.
Hikers: Maria G.; Steve W.; Nanci C. — and Linda and Dan F. (not BIG members)
Canyon Creek is a popular early season destination for BIG (2011; 2013; 2014; 2015): 5th time for Maria; 4th time for Steve; 1st time for Nanci, Linda and Dan (2 SF Bay Area friends). The dates for this trip overlapped with Chiyemi’s memorial service — we remembered her from our first trip in 2011.
Day 1: Departed Ashland at 6:30am. After a couple of stops, we were hiking by 11am. Parking lot was surprisingly empty, and most hikers we saw were heading out. We easily avoided poison oak during the first few miles. We had one short detour around a trail slide. Sherry W. had backpacked here a few weeks earlier, so we knew that creek crossings & slide would not be a problem. Temperatures on Monday were moderate, increasing later in the week (when our packs would be lighter for day hikes or return). After ~6 miles, we reached a spacious campsite (same as 2014) near junction with Boulder Creek Lake trail. Enjoyed cocktail hour with 1 shared can of Caldera Ashland Amber, which Steve carried in. No Tysen to play poker, so played Farkle.
Day 2: Dayhiked to Lower & Upper Canyon Creek Lakes — and beyond. We forded the knee-deep outflow at end of Upper Canyon Lake, and hiked toward L Lake. From previous years, Steve had his eye on a saddle, which might have afforded views of Emerald and Sapphire Lakes. The rest of the group decided to join him on this adventure, so we began by working our way up the relatively open slope. When bushwhacking got too extensive and unpleasant, we diverted to L Lake, and then back to campsite — too hungry & tired for cocktail hour and games.
Day 3: Dayhiked to Boulder Creek Lakes — and beyond. After immediate shin-deep ford of Canyon Creek, we ascended ~2 miles. We decided to explore the end of the lake near a waterfall, but opted to skip a cross-country circumnavigation along a ridge. After lunch, Maria, Nanci and Steve relaxed in the lake, while Dan and Linda cross-countried to Forbidden Lake. Cocktail hour this day was 1 shared can of Caldera Pilot Rock Porter with after-dinner tent open-house, medical kit show-and-tell, and Farkle.
Day 4: Backpacked out. In Weaverville, both La Grange Cafe and Stagecoach Pizzeria were closed (maybe permanently?), so we enjoyed lunch at Mamma Llama Eatery and Cafe, before heading home.