Lucky Dog: Redwood National Park

Lucky Dog: Redwood National Park

I’ve never been there, but I claim with certainty that there are no redwoods in the Pyrenees Mountains. I can proclaim this solely based on my dog’s fur; the amount of redwood duff [and even a few cones] that lodges into her Pyrenees hind end each time she sits down is infinite. I’m not sure which she is more bothered by: the forest that spooks her field-loving nature, or the forest debris that tugs and causes her to be tugged on as we try to remove it. Luckily, she puts up with our redwood-filled, gawking-instead-of-walking, stroll.

You can take your leashed dog several places in Redwood National and State Parks. Trails are off-limits, but anywhere a car is permitted, so is a leashed dog. This includes campgrounds and scenic drives [just watch out for cars–the drivers often are looking up!]. Any beach that you don’t have to hike a trail to get to is also dog-friendly–including right by the Kuchel Visitor Center. Of course, your dog has to be leashed at all times [6 feet or shorter].

There are a few places I’d be wary of taking my dog. The Bald Hills Road during tick season is one; but more importantly, anywhere there are elk, I’d leave my dog in the car. It’s not unheard of for a dog to forget how big is too big and give chase or at least bark at elk, and elk usually don’t forget how big they are and willingly throw their 500-1,000 lbs in the direction of any dog, no matter how cute or tough-looking.

The one redwood-lined place I like dragging my dog [she is not a fan of forests] is Cal-Barrel Road.  This narrow gravel road, most days open to cars, climbs up a ridge for about 2 miles as it winds through the redwoods. Once an easement for logging trucks to access their timber during World War II (so I’ve been told by a knowledgeable ranger), this road allows your dog to accompany you on a serene, forested walk.

Road Closed. This is actually not a redwood, but a Douglas-Fir. Note the difference between the bark of the fallen Doug-fir and the redwood standing behind it. Husband for scale.

While not all parks are quite as dog-friendly, Redwood National and State Parks, a unique cooperation between three state parks and one national park, offers a chance to stand under the tallest canooy in the world with your four-pawed friend.  Something on both your bucket lists, I’m sure!

Fire Cave [Redwoods in high-key, nothing wrong with that!]

Large Log

Winding Up

Big and Small: It’s All Here!

Just like the people here, there is a lovely eclectic mix of natural wonders here. Of course, there are Redwoods, frozen giants that watch as we busily scurry below their towering tops. While they are marvels in and of themselves, there is much to see on and near them.

A gray whale with her calf have been swimming in the Klamath River now for 15 days. No one is quite sure if she can get out on her own. I’ve heard she might be there for safety, to remove parasites, or she just got lost. I’m not sure if anyone knows for sure, but hopefully she will leave when she feels like she needs to. She is about the size of a school bus and feeds on bottom-dwelling invertebrates by stirring them up with her nose and then sucking in the food-filled water and filtering it with her baleen.

Not so large, but the largest subspecies of elk and the largest land mammal around, the Roosevelt elk are gearing up for their rut. Males are starting to lose their velvet from their antlers. The bachelor herd has been seen in Elk Prairie in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park frequently recently!

Even smaller, the Barn and Cliff swallows have been busy raising their chicks and keeping the crows and ravens from their nests.  Amazing how small their eggs are! This swallow was taking a break from insect collecting to catch its breath.

It seems the Yellow-spotted millipede [the ones that smell like almonds!] have stopped hatching out in such large numbers and have sought out their summer hide-outs in nooks and crannies on the forest floor.

The Redwood Sorrel, a clover-looking Oxalis, still has some blooms, but there are lots of new leaves popping up. These young leaves have yet to mature to the dark purple that the older ones have.

Lots of lichen abounds in this area. The redwoods are essentially the start of the Pacific Northwest Rainforests. From lungwort to old man’s beard–variety is the spice of life [or lichen]. Entwined in a symbiotic relationship, fungus and algae grow together in odd shapes and patterns.

Largely looming or sheepishly small, there is a lot of life in these quiet, ancient relict forests.

“See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the
moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to
touch souls.” –Mother Teresa