Afternoon Delight

Having had not only my usual early-morning latte and breaktime cup of coffee, but also an on-my-way-out-the-door iced mocha, I was well-caffeinated and full of energy upon leaving my shift at Peet’s. So yesterday I embarked on that rarity, the full-length afternoon hike, through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

It was a beautiful day for a hike. I started out walking through the Redwood Grove Trail, which features a self-guided tour and is wheelchair accessible. There were lots of families walking through here, taking photos and being amazed at the giant old-growth redwoods.
Starting my hike at the Redwood Grove Trail

I soon left this loop, and the crowds, and took the River Trail to the Eagle Trail. I liked these burned tree stumps on the Eagle Trail. The first reminds me of a dragon:
Dragon stump

The second reminds me of a horned owl:
Owl stump

The older trees in the park are around 1400 – 1800 years old. Here’s a beauty, though the composite photo still doesn’t do justice to its height or breadth:
Composite portrait of a redwood

Streams chuckled alongside the path, the breeze stirred the treetops, birds sang unseen; I was thoroughly enjoying myself. My goal was the observation tower at the highest point in the park, so the trail steadily rose, and the trees soon began to thin out
Thinning trees
and pretty soon I reached chapparal.

A right turn onto the Pine Trail produced views out to surrounding mountains, and gave a hint to the ongoing danger of forest fires in the area.
View, with signs of past fires
The trail up here had turned very sandy. This area had once been ocean floor, and the wind and dry weather have kept much vegetation from growing, and hence any soil from developing. It made for fairly hard going; in some places, the sand was several inches deep. Imagine climbing a mountain and walking on the beach at the same time! You might be able to see from this picture that the tips of my hiking sticks are well buried, and how dusty my boots are.
Sandy feet

Or get some idea of the sandiness of the trail:
Sandy trail

I soon reached the observation tower — which, I’m a bit disappointed to report, was not a tower at all but simply a viewing platform. But still, the views were excellent.
View from the platform

There were many horses on the trail; I encountered four different groups of riders. You can just see a smudge of ocean fog in the distance. At this point, some cool air would have been appreciated! The temperature at the summit was much different from that in the redwood forest.
Horses gather at the platform

They had the cleverest device at the platform: a water fountain for horses! The horse nuzzles his (or her) nose against the lever, and voila! water! It keeps the water fresh, and the horses happy. Maybe this is old hat to horsefolk, but I thought this was the cat’s meow.
A drinking fountain for horses

After leaving the viewing platform/observation tower, I soon re-entered the redwood forest. Such nice shade, and such rich greens.
Shade is good after being in the sun

Green forest floorl

I soon reached the River Trail, and closed the loop I had started two hours earlier. An apple on the banks of the San Lorenzo River was my reward for a hike well done.
Lovely San Lorenzo River

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
The park is located in Felton, CA. Besides hiking trails, the park also features a campground and picnic area. While many people leave their cars outside the park and walk in, I would strongly encourage all park-goers to support California’s state parks and pay the day-use fee. It is a small amount to pay to keep the state’s natural beauty safe and accessible to all.

4 thoughts on “Afternoon Delight

  1. Hey Melissa!
    Thank you for sharing your hike.
    I miss you seeing you at Lakeshore.

  2. Hi, Melissy dear. Nice to take a virtual hike with you!!!! I love how you tell the story so well, in both words and pix. Burned tree stumps really did look like what you thought.

    Meliss, I love you!

    Laura Richards called me the other day to ask me to teach the “Four Leaf Clover” song to the camp choir leader, to sing at Rich and Ginny’s (25th?) celebration. I found and played her a tape Kathy and two others (remember Bonnie Wolfe?) had made in Peter and Mary’s living room in 1982, of that and a bunch of other songs. It made me so campsick I had to call up KLR!

    Just one more thing to say to you tonight: beware of mushroom duxelles in your freezer — they may have been there a verrrrrrry long time.

    Luv Cynnie
    PS: I don’t think I have ever left a comment on a blog before. Is this a blog? Am I internet illiterate? Is it disrespectful to leave off-topic remarks like I am doing???????? Please forgive if so.

  3. Oh Cyn m’dear– wish it was a real hike instead of virtual. I have oh-so-fond memories of our Mt. Diablo hike and songfest (with props!).
    Please leave any kind of comment you like. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *