UCSC Campus in the Spring

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Henry Cowell Forest in Felton

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I went to Henry Cowell by myself this morning after dropping Phoebe off at kindergarten. I got there at about 8:45am while the  sky was still cloudy and mist shrouded the trees. After passing a pair of women walking out of the forest, I had the place seemingly to myself. I followed the interpretive trail walking slowly and drinking in my surroundings, trying to feel at ease. When I came to the Fremont tree where an early pioneer was said to spend the night on his journey through the area, I ducked inside, right into the darkness, opting not to use my phone as a flashlight. It took several minutes for my eyes to adjust and see the patterns of the wood and the little enclaves people had carved out.

It felt like the most magical place in the world to be in the center this massive tree which extended so far above and so deep below, sitting in the quiet darkness. The birds had been loud in the forest but all of that was inaudible from within the tree. All I could hear was the occasional bellowing of the train horn. I knelt on the ground for a while with one knee touching the scratchy ground before sitting down on the seat of my sundress with my thighs against the dirt.

I sat there as long as I could manage and when I emerged, the deep green of the branches above looked as vibrant as ever. I sat on a bench in the clearing and read in my book for a while, then continued my walk. It was getting sunny then (around 10) and there were small groups of people around every turn. I stumbled upon a doe with two fawns who seemed indifferent to my presence just 20 feet away behind a very low barrier fence. The fawns were adorable and I stood still and watched the family until they walked behind a thick redwood. There were another two does nearby. Both paused when they saw me but relaxed when it was clear that I would continue my walk.

The Crashing Waves of Wilder Ranch

I went hiking alone today while Phoebe had her first day of Kindergarten.  Usually when I go to Wilder Ranch, I stay on the trail and hold her hand to keep her safe but since I was there by myself, I was able to hang out at the cliff edges and marvel at the power of the waves against the dramatic landscape.

Redwood Park in Arcata

This park on the far northern coast has the most lovely, moderately challenging hiking trail that winds through magnificent redwoods.  Humboldt County has really great old growth redwood groves.  The atmosphere is very quiet and serene  Redwood Park has a flat grassy area with a playground right in the middle of the forest and trails at the edges that climb the hillside. Sorry about the crummy photo quality–these were taken a couple of years ago with my old 3GS iPhone.

Tree trunk archway.

Tree trunk archway.

The dappled light here is magnificent.

The dappled light here is magnificent.

A tree growing out of the stump of another massive tree, slowly wrapping its roots around it down to the earth.

A tree growing out of the stump of another massive tree, slowly wrapping its roots around it down to the earth.