15 January 2017

Redwood Loop

Arcata Community Forest

Just outside Arcata is a second growth redwood forest and made it to being one of the 1000 "best hikes" in my old California Hiking book. Redwood Park is one of a few trailheads with public parking. Interconnected trails around the forest allow numerous loops of many sizes. It can also be a good place to get lost, so it is a good idea to pay a bit of attention to where you are going. There is a map at the trailhead and trail numbers are marked at junctions.

signs at the start of trail #1
Starting off trail #1 at the park.

trail among the trees
The trail gets quickly deep into the tall trees.

From the start, the only sensible thing seems to be to take off up the trail. There is a nice creek flowing beside the trail and the trail itself is nicely built. A bit of rough gravel keeps it from becoming a muddy mess where rain is common enough.

creek crossings
Bridges to cross the creek when crossing comes up.

large stump
The biggest trees around are stumps, but some of the new trees are starting to challenge them.

plenty of green
Plenty of ferns under the redwoods.

sunlight through the trees
Very little sunlight gets down through the trees.

Some of the trails are actually roads and #9 is one of those as I come up to it. Even the old hiking book warns of kamikaze bikers on the trails that allow them. There are none today, though.

coming upon the road
A nice big road after the bit of trail I was on.

tall cottonwoods or alders
Not all the trees are redwoods. Other try to reach sunlight.

flowers of a current
It is hard to find the flowers at the moment, but there are some.

After a while on the road, I am a bit tired of it and hoping for a smaller trail. The road splits into two and off on the side is a trail that looks a little bit rogue, but I go for it. It is an odd twisting thing that is clearly popular with the bikes.

bike through tree
And finding a bike through tree stump is fun, too.

looking up
They really are some very tall trees.

There are some particularly dark spots within the forest where, even though it is sunny, it is very hard to figure out where the sun actually is in the sky. It takes away one usually good input for direction.

more and more forest
More forest to wander through.

The Ridge Trail looks good, but turning down it does no good. There is a section in the middle that is planned, but not built. It is like a road until a sign that says it is still to be constructed. The green closes in behind the sign. So I turn back and continue up.

fungus among us
Mushroom shelves built along a log.

Turning down a trail, it quickly becomes very steep. The route up was easy and gradual, but this has big steps held by slick, wet wood rounds. It gets steeper, then ducks under a log and drops into a creek with a step so high, the thin log above becomes a helpful hand hold.

Decaying and steep trail.

tall, big stump with other plants
The big stumps of broken trees become planters for the understory.

It improves a bit as I wind my way back downward, then drops into more that are more like roads. There are more people on the trails now, and sometimes I take a corner based on which way a noisy group of people go.

tule growing
Seeds starting up a little too early in their pod.

thin trees
A stand of generally thin trees.

There is a creek and I wander along beside it for a while.

flowing water
Following the water down some more.

mushrooms by the side
Admiring some more mushrooms.

This is not the same creek as the one I started next to. It is making a way down to Humboldt State University instead of the park. There are more and more use trails as I get closer to the college and I start to work back to the park instead of that way. There is a disc golf course along the way and it is quite crowded today. It still seems to be a common area people walk, though. I am happy when I get back into more defined trails. It quickly drops out onto the road a short way down from the main parking area.

camels carved into redwood
Carvings in a redwood stump beside the road.

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 21 January 2017

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