Nice and Easy

I woke up this morning to scramble some tofu, fry a potato.  We were going for a day hike in Redwood National Park.

We bought a baguette, then armed ourselves with $5 worth of Humboldt Fog and a slice of Truffle Tremor.  We stopped by the ranger station to get our free C Line Road permit plus the combo to the gate.  We sped up Bald Hills Road into the mist.  We found our turnoff and fumbled with the lock on the gate.  I tried the combo backwards, upside down, guessing at hypothetical dyslexic interpretations of the numbers we had written down.  We were about to abandon hope, go for a different hike, when I gave it a frustrated jiggle and it popped open.

Down C Line Road towards Redwood Creek, drifting the Tacoma through muddy corners, wondering where we were going and what it would look like.  At the trail head only a beat up Isuzu Trooper and a bank of mist billowing up through the trees.

We hiked Tall Trees Trail, down steep red clay soil through a tunnel of bright madrone.  We stopped at the interpretive trail markers and Beth was so courteous as to narrate, to direct our attention toward old creek beds, fire carved cavities, the diversity of trees.  If there were no fires, the doug firs might never crack the redwoods.  The early settlers called the fire damaged hollow redwoods goose pens because they made great places to store your fowl.  Vanishing trails, prospector routes, donkeys and pick axes, numbered on markers.

At the bottom we looped the Tall Trees Trail, on the bank of the creek.  We saw what was considered the tallest tree, as recently as the 80’s.  Mushrooms and sorrel grew from every mossy opportunity.  Big leaf maples stood in circles, leafless in the winter, bursting with miniature ferns like tall spider sculptures.

Redwood Creek moved swiftly, colored cold slate.  I love how all of the rivers and creeks in Humboldt County have different colored waters; they’re trademarks and signatures.  We walked up the bank to a group of tangled logs that looked like a good picnic bench, startling a pair of American Dippers.  I sat down on the log and there was a long, stinky salmon spine sitting next to me.  Who ate that fish?  Whodunnit?  I stared deep into the water, looking for clues but couldn’t come up with anything.  I fumbled a crumble of Humboldt Fog into the water and thought:  fish bait.  I watched closely but nobody came to claim it.

What a magical combination baguette and cheese is!  What a treat.  To sit on a redwood log on Redwood Creek with nobody but my baby and a Steelhead Pale, a carrot and a satsuma mandarin.  To stare deep into the water and let my mind go downstream.

Driving the gravel road back to the gate a Ruffed Grouse liked us and hoped to come along.  It was foraging in the dirt by the side of the road, but when it saw my truck it walked up as I hit the brakes and it pecked around my wheels for seeds.  I backed up and it followed, seeming to demand, “Feed me!  I want some millet!”  We didn’t have any, so I gave it the slip and we sped back to civilization.