There’s really only one way to experience the redwoods and that’s to walk the trails that snake between them. But there are many ways – or none at all – to interpret the trees and trails. That is where science (something I am ill-prepared to speak much of) comes in.
So when I speak about redwood hikes I talk of a trail being off camber (parts of Damnation Creek Trail), the spectacular view when cresting the ridge at a trail’s midpoint (Boy Scout Tree Trail), or a trail having a boatload of mushrooms on it (first leg of Hobbs Wall or the James Irvine). But those are simple terms and you either see it (whatever the it is) or you don’t. Another thing – I come at you in easy-to-understand English.
When scientist-folk speak, the literal gives way to the relative, and mere presence of a thing is just the beginning. Out come the questions — the wheres, the whys, the how comes and the what ifs. And English often gives way to Latin.
Sunje and Tyrrell traded in their cotton lab coats for fleece and down and came north recently. Intrigued by everything but especially carnivore plants, I set them on a direct path to some cobra lily bogs — off the beaten path and spots only the locals know of.
They liked the ridge tops and valleys, the tall trees and the even taller. But they swooned over the Sequoia sempervirens, the Oxalis oregana, Drosera, Pinguicula and (above all others) the Darlingtonia californica.
Lucky for me, the gals also knew their wines and liked to share, dug a good homemade pizza, and knew how to have fun.
Science — where would we be without it?!