Everyone thinks redwood trees are only found in California. Well, guess what? Oregon has a grove of its very own. Thanks to a turn in the weather, I discovered this on the second day of my Southern Oregon coast trip.
After a fun evening exploring and photographing the sunset at Harris Beach State Park (see post here), I settled for the night inside my cozy yurt. I awoke later to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. The drenching continued for the remainder of the night, and when I woke the next morning it was still coming down.
|Twisted, mossy branches|
Lucky for me, Oregon State Parks builds their yurts watertight. Nothing leaked through it's heavy canvas roof, and the wooden floor kept me high off the soggy ground. My yurt even had electric heat, which kept me snug and warm despite the damp, chilly weather. I felt mighty thankful for my accommodations after overhearing a restroom conversation from a group of tent-camping young ladies complaining about flooded tents and soggy sleeping bags.
But.....the wet stuff continued to fall well into morning. Waiting it out in my yurt, I read a book I'd brought along. But after a couple of hours cabin fever set in. I didn't travel this far to sit inside all day. There were places to explore!
|Raindrop-soaked purple flower|
Shortly after 10, the rain tapered off enough that I felt comfortable venturing to the beach. Dodging huge puddles, I took a paved path that led down to the northern portion of Harris Beach. Although I took lots of seascape photos, crummy light meant none were good enough to post here. I did, however, make a couple nice images of some lovely purple flowers, twisty tree branches, and an interesting leaf pattern that made the final cut. :)
But as I was heading back the rain struck up again. Ugh! I lost time sitting in my yurt for another hour drying off wet jacket and boots.
Originally planning to tour the Samuel H Boardman Scenic corridor, I wasn't real enthused about exploring ocean vistas with cloudy skies and rain. However, I then remembered a recommendation from the camp host. While checking in the previous afternoon, the camp host enthusiastically gave me a rundown of the local sights. She happened to mention a redwood grove - the only one in Oregon - that was only a short drive from the campground. Although rainy days aren't good for ocean photography, they're perfect for capturing mossy, green old growth forests. In an instant my plans changed.
The redwood trail was only a 2.5 mile loop, so I studied my hiking book for nearby paths. Another trail following the Chetco River from nearby Loeb State Park connected nicely with the redwood trail, for a perfect 4-mile ramble.
|The river was a unique shade of blue|
I found Loeb State Park via a quick 7-mile drive east of Brookings. The trailhead was easy to find, although nearly deserted on this rainy afternoon. And while unloading my backpack, tiny raindrops began to speckle my jacket. Uh-oh!
|Redwood Nature Trail|
But I'd come prepared to hike in the rain, and pulled pack covers over my backpack and camera bag. Now to find those big trees!
|Lovely, mossy creek|
The riverside trail was lovely. Paralleling the wild and scenic Chetco River, I was enthralled by it's unique aqua blue color. Moss-draped trees and huge ferns lined the path with wildflowers, mostly bleeding hearts and monkeyflowers, brightening the greenery. Despite the falling precip, this scenery often inspired me enough to pull my camera out of it's dry haven.
|First redwood sighting|
A mere 0.7 mile jaunt took me to a road crossing and a signboard announcing the beginning of the Redwood Nature Trail.
Only one other car was parked in the tiny gravel pull out and I met it's occupant as I strolled past the trailhead information sign. I wouldn't see another soul the entire hike.
|Fungi on the tree|
I knew this trail was a loop, but only seeing one trail, I followed it into a lush green forest lined with ferns and other vegetation. A mossy-bouldered creek burbled nearby. Although there were no redwoods in the vicinity, I no sooner crossed the creek when I spotted my first one.
|Huge log on the forest floor|
What magnificent works of nature! These redwoods rose skyward, their tops seeming to vanish into the clouds.
|Line of redwoods|
I loved the bark patterns, and delicate green needles of these grand trees.
|I loved the views looking up|
Of course, the mist that had followed me from Loeb State Park began to morph into more serious rainfall. My camera began to get wet, and from repeated trips in and out of the bag, the inside of my camera bag began to also get damp.
|The tree on the left was especially huge|
The weather began to seriously curtail my photo-taking.
|Hard to capture the redwood's grandeur|
Still, it was a treat to walk amongst such giant trees.
|This downed log came up to my waist|
There weren't any people around to use for scale comparison, so you'll just have to take my word that these trees were humongous. The downed log in the photo above came up to my waist.
Of course there were lots of wildflowers thriving in this forest. I captured a couple of waterlogged trillium blooms and the above photo was my favorite. I also spied some interesting fungi growing on some of the trees, and attempted to get a few shots of it (before my camera got totally soaked).
The trail meandered through a huge grove of redwoods before winding back down to meet the parking area and road. By now, it was raining hard and my boots, jacket and pants were dripping wet. Time to get back to my warm, dry car.
|World of green|
So I retraced my steps back along the Chetco River. Even on a rainy day, the river views were quite lovely and I made a mental note to return again, hopefully in drier conditons.
|Chetco River once again|
Back once again at my yurt, I hung all my wet clothing in front of the heater, and laid my camera gear nearby. Rain drumming on the yurt's roof made a pleasant sound, and I settled back with my book to wait for my gear to dry (and hopefully the rain to let up).
Fingers crossed the evening would be rain-free. I wanted to try and capture another spectacular ocean sunset. Would I be successful? Find out in the next post!