14 February 2017

Boy Scout Tree Trail

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Getting out of the car at the trailhead, there is the sound of a fog horn just at the edge of hearing. It is so quiet that maybe I am imagining it. Perhaps I am homesick. This is certainly not a place where the sea comes to mind, but these are coastal redwoods and the coast is not too far away. It is not a day to think of fog either. Bits of blue can be seen above. I stand within the old growth and reflect upon the differences between this forest and the second growth of the Arcata Community Forest I have walked through a few times. These trees are certainly a lot bigger, but it is more than that. This forest grew up under a previous generation of big trees striving for a bit of sun in that shade. This is a much more open forest.

tree tops
Looking up from beside the road. There is some blue up there.

trailhead sign
A marked trailhead to start from.

In spite of the name of the trail, it does not go to the Boy Scout Tree. It passes near the tree on its way to Fern Falls and there is no sign to point out where exactly. There were no cars as I pulled up, but that changes before I have sorted the things I want to take day hiking from the things in my backpack. This is a popular trail.

forest of giants
Winding through tall, well spaced trees.

smaller trees in the giants
The smaller trees, which would be giants in most forests, do try to grow up. Some trees have to be the next giants.

panorama of tall trees
Maybe a panorama can take in the size of these trees? Maybe not.

A tree crosses the trail as it winds gently upward. It is a slight duck down to go under it, but really very little. It provides a surface for more growth and so it grows. It is only the first of a few along this trail.

log crossing
A sapling struggles to hold on in a log above the trail.

starts into the distance
Ever more trees on down the hillside.

character of trunks
Each has its own character in big and small ways.

young and younger
A baby beside the children of the forest.

The trail hits a high point and begins to drop. It is muddy, but usually not too bad. Still between a little slope and a little uncertainty in the ground, some of those hiking feel the need of a stick to steady themselves. Bridges are provided for crossing the little creeks.

green tinged creek
There is a curious tint of green to the creek as well although it is not mossy.

between fairly large trees
Passing between giants.

There are a few other giant plants around. The ferns on the ground happily grow chest high. Taking in the details also includes the mushrooms. Every forest has its specific fungi.

redwood sorrel
Redwood sorrel is a clover that can fill your hand.

very wide trunk
Massive trees with massive details.

rain on mushrooms
The woody mushrooms that seem associated with rot within these redwoods.

twisting trunk
One tree with a most delightful spiral.

There is definitely a fog horn out there somewhere. It gets louder as I drop down the hill and becomes joined by traffic noise. I may have started along a potholed gravel road where passing the traffic going the other direction must be negotiated, but the map shows a much larger road quite close through the trees. Visually, it is all forest, but my ears keep insisting on destroying this illusion.

moss covered nude trees
Nearer a larger creek, the vegetation changes a bit to deciduous and moss covered.

moss covered trees
The little trees can be quite interesting too.

creek and decorations
The creek is down there somewhere.

The sound of the waterfall ahead drowns out the soft traffic noises further down the hill. The one last creek has no bridge. This is the destination of Fern Falls.

Fern Falls
A first look at Fern Falls.

tall trees above falls
The tall trees continue to tower above the falls.

Fern Falls
The main section of Fern Falls.

After the waterfall, I head back. There are a lot more people coming down the trail as I start up. The Boy Scout Tree is supposed to be off the trail in a northerly direction and only marked by a use trail. It is not very far before the waterfall.

creek among trees
Following along the creek again as I climb out. This is not the same creek as the one with the falls.

tall trees in three
And looking up. Always looking up.

There are a lot of use trails, but they do not quite look right. I am about to pass up one more that does not look right when I notice it has a secondary trail that actually has tiny switchbacks. I go for it and a short way up there is a very large double tree. There is an oversized sign on it so I know I got to the right place.

Boy Scout Tree
The Boy Scout Tree is a very very large double tree.

dead double tree
There is a second huge double tree nearby, but this one is no longer living.

The tree is massive even among these massive trees. It may not be the largest nearby, but it might well be. After attempting to take in the size for a while, I head off to take in the rest for one last time.

dead? stag
A tall stag hosting growth or a broken tree?

tree tops
The eternal up.

tree or branch
Are those way up there branches or a trees getting a leg up?

steps and mud
Back up the muddy trail.

ferns within the forest
The ferns planted in the trees are a distinct color from the undergrowth ferns.

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 21 February 2017

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