I stopped at the tide pool to photograph a few lined shore crabs visible on the rocks and, after taking their pictures for a while, sat still and enjoyed the little scene before me. That’s when I noticed this crab watching me from the crevices beneath large rocks.
After spending so much time photographing shore crabs in a tide pool at Lagoon Creek in Redwood National Park, it amused me to find a crab made of rockweed on the way back to the trail. It amused me further when reviewing the pictures after I got home, after not noticing while on the beach that one of the real crabs was missing one of its large front claws, that I hadn’t noticed this false crab was also missing a front claw.
A lovely case of life imitating life.
I was surprised to find how relaxing both of my short hiking trips were earlier this year as it normally takes me a bit longer to decompress from work before I can begin truly enjoying my time off. Perhaps it was partly because my most stressful project had finished. Partly because both destinations were within six hours of the house and thus didn’t require a lot of driving. But I also had a lot of fun each day, each with its unique charms, such as going out to the beach at Lagoon Creek in Redwood National Park and finding a lair of lined shore crabs.
While lair may not be accurate, this one does look like it’s guarding its lair with emptied barnacle shells and shadows behind it. There were a handful of crabs in this one little still-damp spot in the tide pools, the water not far off, and watching them and some nearby oystercatchers made for a delightful time on my spur-of-the-moment hike on the Yurok Loop Trail, my first visit to this section of the park.
On my previous visit to the redwoods I was only planning on visiting the forests but was surprised to learn that part of the parks include beaches. This time I deliberately spent time in the tide pools, mostly at Enderts Beach in Crescent City but also a little bit further south near False Klamath Cove. This yawning gull atop a bed of goose barnacles was at Enderts Beach as the tide was rolling in, taken on my last morning while hiking back to the car, ready to start my trip back to Oregon (after one last brief hike in the redwoods on the way). I planned the trip to coincide with days with nice low tides after sunrise.
Much like a short trip to the Olympics in March, this short trip to the redwoods in June re-charged my batteries more than I was expecting. Partly from the time spent in these tremendous forests and partly from the variety of hikes in the parks, as both include beaches with tide pools. It’s hard to take in how many different types of life you can observe all within a few miles.
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.