Arcata Community Forest
Click for rough map.
My second backpacking trip on the Lost Coast fizzled with an email that permits were suspended on the 28th. Mine was for the 29th finishing today, so no additional watching the sea lions play for me. I guess it saved me from one dreary rain day and a second rather heavy rain day. What to do? Another Quest? There's one at the Arcata Community Forest. It's just the smallest circle through the trees beside Redwood Park. The lots are open for parking with just a sign stating that the gates will actually be getting locked after January. I'm sure I'll be out before dark. I found my way to the larger lot which is also the lesser used, so there was plenty of space. There are a few groups using the park. A slackline hangs slack at one end by a group of three spread out and a larger group of 20-somethings are collected at the other end almost spread out. Otherwise, there's a few singles scattered about the grass with one trying to get a big kite decorated with a dragon up into the wind. He doesn't seem to be having much luck. He's probably standing too close to the tall tree wind break behind him. So it's a perfectly ordinary park, except for the torn up caution tape decorating the playground equipment. The Quest begins on the far side of the grass at trail #1.
|Lots of space in Redwood Park at the moment. The equipment doesn't look as tough as the stuff we got as kids, but then our stuff always had a bit that wiggled a lot.|
My tramp across the grass is forestalled when I notice the bright red of rhododendron at the edge. They're in bloom! Well, two of them growing with far more sun than usual are.
|Showy red flowers of a bush with big plain leaves. There's rhododendron in bloom.|
And then past the sign for the trail and into the forest. The forest here has a floor cleared by being so close to the park. Many feet have wandered it even where the paths do not go. I'm sticking to the path and looking for an octopus tree. I've been thinking those are the ones that split into numerous trunks or suddenly have a bunch of branches decide they should also be trunks, but there's a picture to help me find the tree they mean and it suggests they mean something different.
|Lots of young trees with few ferns beneath at the edge of the park.|
|A sort of octopus tree growing up from the root of a fallen tree. But not the one they mean.|
High up, there really is a lot of wind for that kite to grab. I have to watch the trees sway for a little bit. They never sway the same and the spaces around them are constantly changing when the wind blows.