Sunday, May 20, 2007 ;
From this 2nd Day, i'll provide a brief itinerary of what we did, then let the photos do more of the talking. If there is something to highlight, then I will describe a little more.
19 May Sat (post is backdated to this date)
Morning: drove down hwy-101 South to Davison Rd and bumped up and down along a rough dirt road to reach the trailhead of Fern Canyon. Very few people there, and the rest were in huge SUVs or Jeeps. We soon understood why. There were about 2-3 areas where the rough dirt road met little creeks or streams and our car had to do down into the water and then up the embankment the other side.
Good thing our trusty old car survived all that. Dh did well to drive the car at an angle though, and it took a lot of revving before the car could move up the embankment. Ds1 was thrilled with the revving noise though, said it reminded him of Lightning McQueen in Cars.
At the trailhead, we received our first reward. We spotted 2 male elk basking in the morning sunlight and enjoying the cool sea breeze. They were just munching away. Then one of them got up and did what grazing animals naturally do frequently - shit. The kids were most excited to see that! Aiyoh. I just enjoyed observing them in a natural environment, cos all I ever did before was see such large mammals in the zoo.
Their bodies twitched all the time, the muscles seemingly going into spasms alternately. Very amusing. Then their ear kept flicking too. After some time, they wandered back into the thicket and forest higher up in the hills.
The male elk had small antlers cos they just shed their and are growing new ones. I read somewhere that by Fall the antlers would be in their full glory. ds1 and ds2 watched Bambi before, so they understood our description of this.
We then continued on our way to hike the Fern Canyon trail.
Above left : dh and ds1 took the lead while i was behind with ds2 in a sling.
Above right: the start of the trail had a notice "Fern Canyon is in rough condition." and other precautions to take.
As expected, Fern Canyon was full of ferns. I didn't include a lot of fern pics cos Sporeans are familiar with ferns, and Bt Timah Nature Reserve has a great diversity too.
Ds1 enjoyed crossing water-logged areas and there were parts we had to partially wade or climb tree logs to get across. Somehow that made the kids very ecstatic. It was about an hour's walk.
After that we headed for the Gold Bluffs Beach trail. This was much shorter and along the coastline. Spent about an hour too, but this was a very easy walk. The time spent was mostly on observing the many birds and taking pictures. (see the tiny colorful birds perched on the stump below)
Above left: amazed at how these plants can survive growing on the sand, so took some pics of various flora too. (below right: how the trees are bent by wind action)
Below: we enjoyed the solitude, like the whole vast expanse belonged to us alone... :-)
Above, after that we headed out to civilization for lunch, and the kids had sooo much sand in their shoes!
On the way out, just before hitting the main road, we were given another surprise. This time, a whole herd of elk grazing and lazing ard. Again, we just sat in the car and observed them for a long time. So nice to be near these wild animals and enjoy nature with them.
They don't like to be approached though. There were warning signs. We heeded the advice. Though, we noticed something amusing. Our car was parked rather near the herd and dh wanted to get the videocam which was in the car boot. The moment he opened the car door, all the elk stopped munching, went on alert mode and all of them stared at him.
He had to semi-crouch and move slowly to the boot, all the time facing them and looking at them, get the videocam quietly and quickly get back into the car.
While he was doing that, 2 of the elk suddenly stood up, and were still staring at him. haha, once dh was in the car, they all relaxed and carried on their business. Very funny.
I guess they're just concerned that we might pose a danger to them (there were young elk too), and that we might encroach onto their territory.
After lunch, we drove to Bald Hills Rd and started up to Lady Bird Johnson Grove, where there was a 1 mile loop trail among a grove of magnificent redwood trees.
Here it was quite cold actually, cos we had a somewhat steep ascent up the road to get here, so I assume the altitude is higher, and the shade of the giant trees blocked out sunlight. So we had to throw on jackets before we started. ds2 was taking his nap already, so dh slung him and we set off.
There were also several birds we spotted here - wrens and especially the Stellar's Jay (very pretty bird in blue but quite a pest and very daring too). We suspect it is because visitors would feed the jays, making them apt to fly very near humans, waiting for scraps?
Back to the trees, they really held us in awe and respect. Being so tall, so majestic and so old. We were dwarfed by them. Throughout the trail, we were hiking alone too, there was on one else in sight. So it was just the trees and us. We enjoyed the peace, the calm and the quiet.
Below left: a banana slug, found in a hollow of the redwood. demonstrates how impt the redwood is, in supporting the other species in a redwood forest.
Below right: even the fallen tree also has an impt role in the ecosystem
Below; Trees hollowed out by fire but still survive.
Above left: spider web full of droplets of water. ds1 loved looking out for spider webs and spiders.
Above right: dh and ds in bet 2 giants
Above: Entering the hollowed out base of the tree trunk. See how small they are compared to just the base of the tree!
Above: after the trail, we left in our car to Kuchel Visitor ctr.
Below: we realised that there were at least 10 spp of insects that were stuck and dead on our car plates! must have occurred during the late night journey to Crescent City (ytd night), cos the car's headlights attracted the swarms of insects from the forest, only to smash into the moving car.
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow