July 29, 2007 Portola Redwoods State Park

The announcement
Time to bore you with more amazing tricks with my iPhone while we hike Portola Redwoods State Park. Just don’t stand between me and the huckleberries, though. This is a moderate hike, all covered, with several trail options, depending on how much you want to hike and how much you want to ogle my cell phone. Plan on helping me find primo redwood seeds for my jewelry, and maybe some oak acorns as well. We might stalk the elusive Tiptoe Falls, or view the rotting remnants of the Iverson outhouse. Me might look at the old tree. We might wander far afield to the grove-of-unpassable-poison-oak. We might rest at the backpacker campground. We will eat somewhere along the hike.

We leave here at 9 and begin the hike at the ranger’s station at around 9:45 to 10:00-ish. Plan on 3 to 4 hours of hiking.

The hike
Last week we were inspired by one of Kristen’s INCH (or is it OUCH) hikes in Portola Redwoods State Park. Rather than a 16 mile, 4,000 foot climb hike, though, we just took a slice of her route. We started at the Ranger’s station, when up the hill behind, then on to the Tarwater Trail. This is now my new, favorite route for the park. Once you get to the top of the hill that we normally climb anyway, there isn’t much climbing left for the whole trail. And rather than being closed in with trees all the way, as with our normal trail options, we quickly came to the backbone of the park.

The backbone is actually pretty narrow and knife edged, with steep drops off from either side. And there are some rather nice views, especially thanks to the variety of trees covering the valley towards the ranger’s station. Further on, there is a parking place, which might be an especially suitable takeoff point if one wanted to, say, bring 4WheelBob into the park.

Mind, after eating spider webs all the way up the hill, once we got to the parking lot, the big oak tree at the trailhead was dripping with hundreds, if not thousands of worms on silk strings. We had to spend some amount of time slapping each other get get the worms off as we didn’t notice them until we had walked through some of them.

The Tarwater trail itself was probably the prettiest section of the park I’ve seen. It’s mostly logging road width and a gentle downhill, or maybe a bit more than gentle. There were a few thimbleberries along the way, which is always worth any hike. There were huge fields of huckleberries, but almost no berries were on the bushes. I hope it’s because we were a couple of weeks early. We might have to go back here in a month and look again.

There are some impressive redwoods along the way, too, right on the trail. Next time, we need to go just a bit further along the trail before we break for lunch. We saw a large group of hikers off the side of the trail sitting next to a large fallen redwood as if it were a table.

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