Category Archives: physical activity

Left Coast and Redwoods Trip – Day 4

Hi. Welcome back to day 4 of our Coast and Redwoods trip.  Hope you’ve enjoyed it so far.

Originally we thought we might stay an extra day in the forest but after our first night in our “cottage” we knew it was going to be a one-day affair.  So we packed up our gear and planned to spend the day enjoying the redwoods and then head back up into Oregon.

Alright, time to get up and start our big day sightseeing redwoods in the Humboldt Redwood State Park we had spent all this time and energy to get to.  Was it worth it?  Let’s see what you think.  But first, let’s have a little breakfast, shall we?

At this point our main guide was this map/brochure we had picked up in one of the stores we stopped at before we got to the “cottage”.  It gave us some idea of what we could expect but it was more a publicity and ads thing than a map.maps-1maps-4

For breakfast, since we were already pretty much at the Southern tip of the Avenue of the Giants in Phillipsville we decided to drive back up to Miranda to see what the Avenue Cafe was like.  Here we are waiting for our order of eggs and such.

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Avenue Cafe in Miranda where they don’t have any peanut butter. EVER!

Food was ok but when I asked for some peanut butter for my french toast they said they didn’t stock any peanut butter at the Cafe.  None. Period.  Kinda strange to not even have the little individual serving plastic containers but c’est la vie.  I’ll give it 3.5 stars out of 5. Chowed down and headed back out.  Tree time!

 

Oh, I need to tell you that it was raining.  Not just a pleasant light rain but a serious need-the-umbrella-to-get-anywhere-without-getting-soaked kinda rain.  Our plan for the day was to visit some of the groves on the map above, stop at the visitor center and then plan the rest of the day until we needed to leave.  Here’s a few pics from the first grove we wandered around; I think it was the Williams Grove.

One of the first things we noticed besides the big trees was what we first thought was clover all over the forest floor.  We later realized it was wood sorrel and I was dumbfounded that I hadn’t recognized it!  Some forestry school graduate I turned out to be!  But seriously, that was oh, 40+ years ago and the amount that I have remembered just astonishes me sometimes.

From here we headed up to the visitor’s center as planned.  Oh boy was that an eye-opener!  First of all we were able to get a map that was actually a map!  maps-2maps-3

And the ranger was so helpful.  The first thing he did was to tell us how bad our previous map was.  And then once we told him what we were interested in and didn’t mind doing some serious hiking to get there, he told us where to find the best trees and forest for our time there.  He told us to not miss the Founders Loop or the Rockefeller Loop.

And here’s why.

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Doesn’t that burl on the left look like an animal?  I see a lamb’s head nestled against the trunk
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the roots of a recently fallen giant
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The mandatory, “Look, I’m inside the base of a tree” photo 🙂

(I just want to add that the visitor’s center is worth setting aside an hour or two to spend there if you have time.  There are lots of interpretive displays and lots of history.  Interesting fact:  It was due to a picnic to which John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was invited amongst the redwoods that the park came to be. Rockefeller was so impressed that he donated a large amount of money to the Save-the-Redwoods League to help fund the park.)

 

The ranger recommended that we head up the Bull Creek Trail North as far as we had time for. Since it was early in the season and a very rainy day we’d probably not see anyone on the trail and it had some of the best trees in the park. And that was absolutely true. We saw nobody on the trail for the time we were on it.

Before I take you along that trail I thought I’d share this site which has a wealth of information about redwoods.  One of the things the ranger told us was that the burls of the tree were not cancerous growths as I thought, but actually contained dormant sprouts ready to grow out if the main tree was sufficiently damaged.  Sorta contained the tree’s version of stem cells, if you know what I’m talking about.  Way cool.  So that “lamb’s head” pic above is actually waiting for a chance to start a new tree, should it be called upon to do so.

And for how I got so many nice pics on such a rainy day, all I can say is I was lucky and had fantastic help.  We had a drill between J and I.  I carried the tripod and whenever I wanted to take a shot, she’d be my photo assistant and hold the umbrella over me while I got the camera out and everything set up.  Since I was using a remote shutter release for long exposures once I was all set, I’d take the umbrella back and then if she was going to be in the pic, she’d get where we wanted her and I could take the shot shielding the camera from the rain.  If she wasn’t in the shot, she’d just continue holding the brolly for me.  Nice!  Can’t ask for more than that from a partner.

Ok, on to the Bull Creek North trail, also known as the Big Tree Trail.  Because it was such a rainy day we didn’t spend nearly as much time on the trail as we would have liked but the time we did spend was well worth it.  There was a bit of bushwacking to get around some trees that had come down recently but that didn’t stop us.  We’re from BC where that’s entirely normal 🙂

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Ok, tell me you can’t see the beast’s head here, snuggled into its mother tree!
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J playing peek-a-boo between our 2 favourite trees of the day
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without J

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A lovely grove

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And that’s pretty much it for the Redwoods and Sequoias this year!  We were more than satiated with big trees and in answer to the “Was it worth it?” question I asked above, we both gave a resounding YES!!

In a way, this was kind of a reccy trip.  Now we knew that if we wanted to spend some time in really big trees, we could come here.  We have a map and there are trails for backpacking so maybe that will be our next foray into the redwoods.

Back to the car and our plan to head up to Oregon.  Now we need a place to sleep.  So while J was driving I got on the web and found us a BnB in Brookings, Oregon, called  The South Coast Inn Bed & Breakfast.

As we were traveling a bit late, we decided to stop for dinner at the Fisherman’s Restaurant in Crescent City.  The wind was really blowing and it was quite stormy so it was a nice relief to get out of the car and into a friendly restaurant.  I’ll give it a 4 star rating.

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Fisherman’s Restaurant in Crescent City

 

After eating we headed back up the highway to Brookings and The South Coast Inn B&B.  What a difference compared to the previous night!  Literally night and day.  The rates were affordable and the accommodations were just fantastic.  As it was so rainy, they had had several cancellations and we had our pick of rooms.  We stayed in the Sea Breeze Room.

We relaxed and rested in our room and so ended day 4 of our Left Coast Trip.  Ahhhh.

On day 5 we were planning on exploring our way up the Oregon coast and heading back East to Portland and I5 to stay with a friend before heading back home on day 6.

Stay tuned for days 5 & 6.

Happy rambles.

Rich

Belcarra Jug Island hike

It was another rainy day but we just had to get out into the forest and breathe some tree air so J and I headed over to one of our local parks, Belcarra Regional Park, and took the trail that brings you out on a beach that looks directly across to Jug Island and has a great view down Indian Arm.

Even though it was rainy, cloudy and cool, there was a steady stream of “traffic” on the trail.  When we started out, there was an Asian gentleman manning a big kettle of soup being heated by a propane set-up under one of the lean-tos.  We asked him what he was doing and we think he said he was cooking bone soup for all his hiking friends when they returned and that we were welcome to join them.  We were jealous.  I want a friend like that!

The returning Asian hikers passed us on our way down the trail just a little after we started in so we knew that by the time we got back, they would be gone and so would the soup.  See, there really is no such thing as a free lunch!

Got to the beach about the same time as a group of younger folks, took a few pictures looking down Indian Arm and headed back to the car.

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Taken while taking shelter under a nearby tree.
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A bit more of a “moody” treatment
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A not so perfect panorama stitch with other hikers
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That kinda day

You can just see the tip of Jug Island at the far left on the shots.  Nice couple of restorative hours.  It’s always worth it to get out. No matter how bad the weather seems it’s always nicer on the trail.

Happy ramblin’

Rich

Wells Gray Park – East Trophy Ridge

It’s been a while since I did a “trip report” so this week, I thought I’d share one of the hikes we did last August in Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC.

Wells Gray has become one of our favourite places to go for a long 4-5 day weekend.  The first time we went several years ago, we had a friend who had a house there she wasn’t using and she let us stay in it.  After that trip, we were hooked on this park and area. There’s so much to see and explore, especially if you like waterfalls, which we do, and lots of opportunities to hike into the alpine so we couldn’t wait to return.

If you do decide to visit this park, be sure to stop in at the visitor’s centre right off the highway and pick up a copy of Roland Neave’s book, Exploring Wells Gray Park.  It’s the best guide to the area.  We got a copy of the 5th edition the first time we were there and were so impressed with it that when we went this past summer, we were happy to scoop up the newer 6th edition.  And you can get it before you go, online!

This post I’m just going to focus on one hike that we did, the hike up the East Ridge of Trophy Mt.  Trophy Mt is one of the major mountains in the park and you can come at it from various directions.  Last time we headed onto its West slopes via Sheila lake so this time we wanted to try the other side.

We were not disappointed!  It’s a great hike and you are rewarded with many great panoramic vistas once you actually get into the alpine, which only takes about 90 minutes or so.  On the way up from the trail head, we were rewarded with lovely meadows that still had lots of flowers and stunning views of Raft Mt to the South, another peak we’d like to explore next time we go.

The first part of the trail takes you through some lovely forest with a couple of great scraggly trees.  Here’s one I really liked.

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And a bit of wildlife on the way up.  A butterfly perched on an aster.

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Butterfly and flies perched on aster

As I mentioned, you pass through some lovely meadows before the views of Raft Mt start to come into play.

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As you gain elevation, you begin to get views of Raft behind you so don’t forget to turn around and look because the light will definitely change on the way down and you don’t want to miss the changes.

A few pics of Raft Mt on the way up into the alpine.

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The Raft Mt complex

 

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stitched pano from another viewpoint

 

And then you enter the alpine and things start opening up.

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a less than perfect pano stitch but you get the idea!

Now we’re really getting into the alpine and things open up with lots of territory to explore.  You come to a cabin and from there you can go several ways.  We stayed East, wandered up that ridge and eventually came to a lovey viewpoint where we had lunch and just chilled out on the rocks enjoying the views for a while.

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J’s a happy hiker 🙂

Our high point and lunch spot.

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My (Scrambler’s) signature mountain “selfie”.  I always photo my hat at the highest point I reach on a hike, especially if there’s a view.

A bit of a closeup of the what you see past the selfie hat.

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See what I mean about so much to explore!

I thought about heading up that bump foreground left but we decided we’d had enough elevation gain for the day and after lunch headed back down.  Did a bit of loop to get back to the cabin and then headed back down to the car.

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Black and white of meadows and Raft Mt on the way back down. 

On the way back to the car I took a few more flower pics.  Here’s one of a lousewort species.

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We also ran across a bit of wildlife, too.

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female spruce grouse if I’m not mistaken.

And then just because I happen to be a fun guy who likes fungi, had to take a quick shot of this one.

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choral fungus spp.

Well I took almost 200 pics on this hike so you can see I’ve really held back here and saved you from 40 pics of Raft from different viewpoints and so many flowered meadows.  You just gotta go and see it for yourself!

Keep on ramblin’

Rich

“Green Rocks” Trail

I am a very lucky guy in that I live pretty close (~6 km) to where I work part time and to get there, I can walk, run, bike, drive, take the bus or a combination of those.  There is one little caveat, though.  In order to get to or from the building I work in, I have to go up or down a small mountain.  Elevation gain is 250-270 metres depending on where I start from.

Luckily, there are lots of mountain bike trails that are multi-use for hikers too.  I use  them all the time.  Just this afternoon I ran down one on a run home, one of the options from above.

One of the trails I frequent has a beautiful little section with rocks covered with moss along the side of it and so I like to refer to it as the “Green Rocks” trail.  And it’s an offshoot of one of the main trails so doesn’t get quite the usage which frankly, is quite fine by me.  Because if it did, especially by the bikers, the green rocks would disappear quite quickly.  In fact one of the reasons I’m writing this and posting a couple of pics is because I know sooner or later, this will probably happen.

In any event, it is a lovely section and I’d like to share a it with you 🙂

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My favourite green rocks

And here’s some more a little further down the trail.

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More of the lovely green rocks

I think they’re quite lovely, don’t you?  It always lifts my spirits to see them. And I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t tell you where this trail is, eh?  That’s because it’s not really an “open” trail.  So the less people that use it, the better.

Hope you enjoyed this little ramble.

Rich

 

A Walk in Belcarra

When we don’t have much time and just want a nice walk in the woods by the shore we often head over to Belcarra Park. There are a couple of nice trails there for strolls or if you have more time, longer excursions. The trails there connect up with an extensive network of trails in the area including to Sasamat and Buntzen lakes.

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On this walk we took the trail to Admiralty Point.  Here’s one of the side “beaches” on the way to the Point.

Belcarra walk-3Not a great day weatherwise but any time spent rambling around in a park like Belcarra is better than moping around inside!

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Keep on Rambling.

Rich