One of the reasons I visited tide pools on my trips to Olympic National Park and Redwood National and State Parks was to get more familiar with the animals that live there, so I’d be better prepared to photograph them on future visits. On my visit to the beach along the Yurok Loop Trail (starts at the Lagoon Creek picnic and rest area off the highway in Redwood National Park) I was delighted to find a handful of crabs but didn’t know anything about them or even if they were all the same species. I looked them up when I got home and learned they were lined shore crabs, a new species for me.
I was so excited as I photographed them that I didn’t even notice until I got home that this one is missing one of its large front claws. Ever observant, that’s me. I was surprised to learn that although it does sometimes eat small animals, the lined shore crab feeds primarily on algae it scrapes off rocks as I had I assumed the fearsome looking claws were primarily used for combat.
When I walk in a redwood forest I’m struck not just by the giants themselves but how much they impact the world around them. The canopy of living redwoods can block the light needed by smaller plants below them, dictating what can grow on the forest floor. A fallen giant like this redwood along Prairie Creek creates space for those plants to grow but can block the movement of ground creatures if it falls across their trails, or even block the flow of water, but also provides a base for other redwoods to grow. Everything here learns to live in the shadow of the giants, upright or fallen.
There is so much to love about hiking in the redwoods but one thing I’m constantly amazed by is the variety of patterns and colors in their bark, each tree with its own story to tell. This redwood on an offshoot of the Simpson-Reed Trail had wonderful waves rippling through a section of its trunk with a nice touch of green from a dusting of lichens on its surface.
An elk cow seems to be enjoying her grass dinner in the appropriately-named Elk Meadow in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
I finally had the chance to visit Fern Canyon on this trip to the redwoods, but this picture of layer upon layer of ferns comes from a different part of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a footbridge on the Prairie Creek Trail. I have a little group of ferns in our yard that I call “Redwood Corner” to remind me of hiking in ancient forests like this one.
Some say he was in the redwoods. Others say he was only there in spirit. His car was definitely there, but some say he was testing a new self-driving car feature for Subaru, where your car goes on fun vacations and sends back pictures while you stay home and work.
On my journey to the redwoods, I expected to work mostly with the widest angle of my lens, highlighting the immense size and height of these ancient trees. However, my plans changed instantly the moment I stepped on the trails. I was struck both by the myriad colors and textures of the trees as well as their tenacity in hanging onto life despite fire and storm damage. This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip and also one of my earliest, I stopped off for a quick hike around the Simpson-Reed Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park before continuing on to my hotel in Crescent City.
The bark of this redwood was colored green by moss, while on the right of the picture where the bark has been stripped away, you can see the red pulp that gives the redwoods their name.
This year’s version of Where’s Boolie comes courtesy of a large redwood tree in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. This was my first morning in the park and the tree sits right off the Prairie Creek Trail with a cavity in the middle suitable for housing an entire bigfoot family.
I had to smile when I heard a distant hooting that morning, probably an unfamiliar owl or other bird, but it also reminded me of the supposed bigfoot calls from I show I watched a while back. I hoped with camera in hand to get some nice high-resolution, in focus, non-shaky bigfoot pictures but it was not to be. It would have been the perfect time to prove my theory on the true nature of bigfoot.
It is not a popular theory and has put me on the fringe of the lunatic fringe. I believe that they are not some form of ape running undiscovered in our forests — I mean seriously — but that they are in fact Wookiees.
My critics are quick to point out that Star Wars is fictional. I know it’s fictional — I’m not an idiot. I just don’t understand how it’s relevant. To Kill a Mockingbird is fictional. Are mockingbirds fictional too?