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.