Thursday, May 27, 2010

Simpson-Reed Grove : Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

Entrance to the Simpson Reed Grove from the Parking Lot

It's tough to beat waking up to the daily migration of the Marbled Murlette from their redwood nests down the Smith River and out to the coast while watching river otters float by the camp. I rolled out of my tent after a fitful nights sleep to find exactly that while I sipped away at my coffee and ate my oatmeal. It was a cloudy and cold morning, precisely the kind of weather I expect to find in the north coast redwoods. From the Jedediah Smith campground we traveled back Hwy 199 South towards Crescent City stopping just off the side of the road at the Simpson-Reed Grove.

A Young Redwood and various other trees along the trail.

The thundering roar of 16-wheelers blazing down 199 is overwhelming at first. Fortunately the roar of cars, the crashing of freight containers, and the squeal of brakes dissipates several hundred feet into the lush grove. The Stout Grove, deeper in the park, contains the very oldest trees but in many ways the Simpson-Reed giants are equally impressive. The bark of the trees is draped in old man's beard and coated with fluorescent green moss. The floor is a mix of the clover like Redwood Sorrell and Ferns. 

Old Growth Redwood.

Downed trees are scattered along the side of the trail along with the occasional bench. The height of the canopy above becomes apparent in several locations where up to 150 feet of vertical space tower above before even the first branches. As the trail extends out from the road it eventually runs into a small creek with several access points, from here and only here is it possible to see the sky.

Morning Light in the depths of the forest.

The black burls set against the high growing ferns give the Simpson-Reed Grove an enchanted feeling, as if a dinosaur (or ewok) might suddenly come crashing through the forest. The Peterson Memorial trail extends the loop a bit further before the trail returns to the roar of traffic. After only half an hour we were back under way but thoroughly touched by the beauty of the redwoods of the Simpson-Reed Grove.

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