Wednesday we woke to a very foggy morning. The warm sunny weather couldn’t last forever, but truthfully, the fog really evens out the light and made our next hike a bit better for making photographs. Todays hike is in Russian Gulch State Park, just a few miles north of us. The hike is Fern Canyon – at least one of the Fern Canyon’s. There appear to be several. The hike was a very easy 2.5 miles or so. The first part of the trail was pretty much paved and flat and suitable for bikes, of which a few passed us. It moves along a small creek with lush undergrowth all around. Surprisingly there were few mesquites to be seen. Maybe just a little too early in the season just yet. This made hiking really enjoyable. About halfway in, the bike trail ends and the trail becomes, well, more trail-like, with gentle ups and downs and still lots of nice views of the thickly treed and vegetated slopes of the canyon. It wasn’t long before we came to our destination – the waterfall. The trail continued on for a several more mile loop, but Mary’s knee was bothering her so we opted for lunch and a rest before heading back
Mary opted to not bring her camera hoping that less weight would make it easier on her sore knee. So while I photographed around the waterfall, she moved up the trail to the top of the waterfall to look around. Soon I see her scurrying back at an unusually quick pace for a lady with a sore knee. She comes right up to me and says she thinks she saw a bear just 20 or 30 yards beyond the waterfall, but she wasn’t sure. She just saw something black moving around before she hightailed it. I decided I needed to have a look and as I moved up the trail, I could hear a rather agonizing growl – not a bear, but Mary not wanting me to go. Getting to the top of the waterfall, I looked around but there was simply no sign of anything but a large black stump and it wasn’t moving. Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t – we will never know.
Anyway, we soon headed back, rested up a bit before heading back to Mendocino for our dinner at Café Beaujolais. We dined here many years ago and had some pretty terrific food. We also discovered Ferrari Carano Chardonnay. It was old style, big, oaky and buttery. The just don’t make em like that anymore. Really, nobody makes them in this style anymore – not even Ferrari Carano. Now they are all fruity things. But this time at Beaujolais, Ferrari Carano was not on the menu. Frank Family has replaced it. We visited Frank Family Vineyards a number of years age and told them about our love for Ferrari Carano. Their response was, “Well, if you like their’s you’ll LOVE ours.” We said yeah, right. Well, Wow! The were right. It was actually better. More like what we were after. We bought a case on the spot and rationed them for a couple of years after. This night, Frank Family was still a good choice. We may have to visit the vineyard again soon. Our dinners were as good as ever. Mary had Duck two ways, and I had the Sturgeon in truffle sauce. And yes, there were desserts. Coconut Cream Pie for Mary and Molten Chocolate Mousse and ice cream for me.
On Thursday, we got up early and hiked another Fern Trail. This one left from our own campground, so we just had to step out of the motorhome and start walking. It was actually pretty similar to the last hike, so we walked for a mile and a half or so, then turned around. A little later we left Van Damme and headed further up Highway 1 to Myers Flat where we plan to be for the next 4 days.
Myers Flat Area
We found a very nice little place to stay called Giant Redwoods RV Park. It is not officially open yet, but new managers Michael and Jody, decided that since they were here, they might as well open the place to visitors. They are getting the place ready for the official opening later in May, so some of the amenities are not operational and they have given us some discounts. They are both very friendly and after talking with them for a while, I asked if I could photograph them for the Nomads project and they agreed.
Our first stop after getting settled, was The Avenue of the Giants visitor center. There we got some great tips on places to hike along the Avenue. We’ve been here before and done some of the big tree hikes and frankly, while they never cease to amaze, after the first few, it sort of becomes a “seen one, seen em all” kind of thing. They are a little hard to comprehend somehow. Really hard to photograph effectively. They really only feel special when you see a person next to them – in pictures or live. So on first sight they are jaw dropping, but soon it becomes huh, another big tree. Until you see a person next to them again. Making photographs is also a challenge. What I like to do when a scene is just too big to really understand, is to look to the details and so I started looking at the underbrush more.
We were recommended to a walk called Druy-Chaney Trail. This turned out to be really nice. Another 2.5 mile loop through the forest, but what made this one different was the lush undergrowth. It was thick with blooming Redwood Soral, and moss covered everything else. This created a sort of green rolling terrain. The hike started out pretty overcast but the sun soon broke through and created a more difficult lighting situation wit hot spots in the dark environment. Still, it was a wonderful hike with so few people we felt we had the place to ourselves. In just another month or so, this place will be crawling with people – and bugs! Much better to be here now.
Saturday we got up earlyish and did a riverside walk. It was not nearly as nice as the previous days’ hike. Very little undergrowth and the river views were nothing special, so we went for a mile or so before heading back. The rest of the day was spent catching up on blogging and some computer troubleshooting and maintenance.