In the end, it’s always us and them.
In the redwoods, the “us” is the fellowship of Homo sapiens — us little folk on the ground. The “them” is the vast population of Sequoia sempervirens — them thar redwoods that reach to the sky.
We come together on the forest floor but it’s not really a fair match. Us folk struggle to stay upright, make progress slowly as we climb over a complex understory of vines, fallen branches, prickly shrubs, and waist-high fern. We are threatened by it all and work hard to avoid injury, often alerting our companions of danger underfoot — careful of that stump, it’ll trip you up or jeeez, watch out for that hole. Halting in our tracks to observe the trail ahead, we move only when it is safe. Them folk just kinda sit there, owning it all.
Guests David, Melissa, Wanda and Bruce had come west to see the ocean and trees. Preliminary emails disclosed concerns about difficulty levels and possible lengthy trails. I wondered to myself — why bother? But this group turned out to be devoted to the treescape and in particular, the redwoods. They chalked up Fern Canyon, Stout Grove and the Simpson-Reed (and Peterson Loop), Hatton, and Mill Creek Trails in their day and a half in Hiouchi. They whale-watched from the Enderts Beach Lookout. Walked among elk in Orrick. They drove the length of Howland Hill Road twice.
While many guests come with the intention to hike, few tally the miles David and crew did. We did a short hike together and it wasn’t just another redwood hike. Seems each trail was special. Melissa (who along with husband David were Biology majors in college) said the trees in this grove in particular were a close-knit family, communicating through shared DNA and proximity to each other. I’d never thought of redwoods like that but I think I will now.
We had a good hike and in the end I think we both learned something new, from both the Davids and Goliaths.